t has been almost two years now, but I can still remember how it felt driving with everything I owned packed into my back seat on my way “off to college.”
I can remember stopping at the truck stop in Mount Enterprise in the pouring rain, because I was crying too hard to see the road.
I remember stopping again at the gas station just inside the Kilgore city limits because I just knew I was going to be sick; my nerves were getting the best of me.
And I can still remember, vividly, how it felt to see my dad’s tears streaming, uncontrollably, down his face as he clung to me on the sidewalk outside the Rangerette Residence on the day I moved in, not wanting to let me grow up just yet.
I’ve never been good with change, not even little changes like my nail color or brand of toothpaste.
I am most definitely a creature of habit.
Moving out of my parents’ house and starting college was one of the most terrifying changes of my life.
I was brand new to the world of Rangerettes.
From a town of only 2,100 people and never driving further than the 30 minutes it took to get to my grandparents’ house, throw me into a house of 71 strangers, bump up the population by about 13,000 and put almost 100 miles between my family and me, and I was experiencing complete culture shock.
But after about two weeks, I realized I was blowing the whole situation out of proportion.
Yes, I missed my family and boyfriend. Yes, I was living with strangers, but they were not strangers for long. Yes, I was in a bigger town, but it didn’t seem like I would be doing much exploring with all the practices I had.
Everything seemed like it would turn out just fine.
And it has.
The past two years have been some of the most memorable, important and best years of my life. Everyone told me they would fly by, and I paid no attention to their words until now, with a little less than two weeks until I take the stage for the last time in my dancing career.
I have learned so much from my time here at KC, and from being a Rangerette, from the friends I have made, and the teachers who have taught me more than academics. Looking back, I am realizing that I should have cherished my time here a little more.
I should have stayed at the dorm more weekends, gone out a little more, and met a few more faces; but hindsight is 20-20.
Now, I am faced with changes again, this time an even-greater changes than before.
In May, when I graduate from here, I am moving back in with my parents and starting school at Stephen F. Austin State University in the fall.
These changes terrify me too. I am afraid of what it will be like living under my parents’ roof again, not that it was so bad the first time around. I am worried about handling classes at a university level. I am nervous about meeting new people, and being involved with campus life since I won’t be living on campus.
And I am worried about finding a new passion. For so long I had my dancing career, but with the last night of Revels, that career will be no more. That is a hard reality to accept.
With all of these changes coming my way, I am forced to look at myself in the mirror and do a little self-evaluation. It’s time for me to face the fact that I have grown up, and that moving on is just a part of life.
But what I really need to realize is that with all of these doors closing, so many more are opening — even if I haven’t heard the hinges creak yet.
Two years ago, I looked at the changes that came with starting college as if they were the end of the world, but as I said, I was making mountains out of mole hills.
I’m sure I am doing the same this time around too. I am 20, not 80. My life is not over; it is only just beginning.
Dezirae Burnett is sophomore journalism major form Huntington.