That Pre-College Feeling

that pre college feeling

If your pre-college experience was anything like mine, then the following trip down memory lane might feel so real as to get you car sick…This post is brought to you by Pepto Bismol.  Pepto Bismol, preventing mind diarrhea since 1935

It was August 2004, the last month of my life as a “high school student.”  Although it was the summer, until you step foot onto a college campus, you’re a high school student.  There’s no other way to interpret it.  You live in your high school town.  You hang out with your high school friends.  You do high school things (if in the Midwest, perhaps in corn fields).

Although the institution is behind you, the lifestyle remains throughout summer.

Depending on the particular school you were going to be attending in the fall, dictated when you would be making the transition from the high school life to the college life.  Since the University of Wisconsin-Madison started much later than most other schools, I sat around, anxiously as my friends left for their new lives, one by one.  Instead of masking my anxiety with the familiar presence of my social circle, I was instead forced to stew in my own nervous excitement.  Excited, because people assured me it would be the four best years of my life.  Nervous, because I was going to be living in a city that I had spent no more than two hours in and knew exactly zero people prior to moving.  And to say “nervous excitement”, implies that there was an even share of the two.  This was not the case.  Nervous always prevailed, and rather convincingly too.

The last few days prior to my departure were essentially one giant blur of holy shit this is really happening moments. I would be shedding my skin.  Leaving a life behind that I had spent my eternity learning and growing accustomed to.  One day I was living day #6,550 of living at home.  The next day, I would be living in a new city in a room the size of a really big closet- with another stranger.

Holy shit this is really happening.

Flip the calendar, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008…

Okay, they were right.  College, at least my experience, was, to date, the four best years of my life.  When presented with a stimulus that strongly reminds me of Madison, I get nostalgia stomach pains severe enough to consider taking a pregnancy test.

But I digress…

The period leading up to my college experience was one of the most challenging in my entire life.  Although people had assured me it was going to be a life changing experience, it’s hard to convince an 18 year old that losing all of his friends is a good thing.  With that said, their reassurance served as comfort, as I tend to trust the opinions of those I respect (in this case, my parents).  Deep down I knew that they had my best interests at heart (either that or they wanted me out of the house – in hindsight that makes a lot more sense).

I had to let my gut do the talking and tell my head to STFU.

I’m back.

I’m back to the point where my gut is calling the shots.

In approximately six weeks, I’m going to be carrying all of my belongings, and living outside.

In approximately six weeks, I’m going to be carrying all of my belongings, and living outside.

That’s not an accidental repeat of sentences.  This is me coming to grips with the fact that,

In approximately six weeks, I’m going to be carrying all of my belongings, and living outside.

Holy shit this is really happening.

But, this is something I’ve put onto myself.  This isn’t a disease.  I didn’t get drafted into the military.

This is something, some part of me, deep down, knew it needed to do.  I try every day to focus on my gut, or whatever body part sends such low frequency signals.

But some days, the other part of the brain wins.  The part of the brain that says, “the areas of the United States with the highest incidences of Lyme disease are New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania” (all on the AT) or, “there are days where you will be sleeping outside, on top of snow, your clothes are wet, and all day you struggled to find clean enough water.”  Some days that part of the brain does the talking.

But, I continue to consult back to my gut for the answer.

My gut got college right.

I hope it got this one right too…