Written by: Adrienne MerriottRoads Merriott_Adrienne

With a caravan of three vehicles to carry my things, my parents and I departed Bryant, Arkansas at 11:00 am headed to Fayetteville for move-in day. My anxiety mounted the closer we got to the school. I’d been gone for two years already at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, so I told myself there was no reason to be nervous. Even still, this was the furthest I’d ever been from home. What should have felt like a four hour drive felt more like 30 minutes. All I could think was, “This is it. I’m moving out for good. Summers hopefully spent abroad will make summers spent at home fewer and fewer until I am an adult: independent and self-sufficient.” I started crying, thinking about how I was too grown up to need my parents, but I certainly didn’t feel that way. I felt like I was going to suddenly wake up and be a college graduate, twenty-two and on my own. The thought scared me. Who was I supposed to depend on? Who would take care of me now? I knew the answer was me. I would have to face the challenges of college, not necessarily completely alone, but with the knowledge that my decisions could truly affect my future. It would be solely up to me to take care of my future self. As we unloaded my things and set up my room I looked at my parents’ faces. They were smiling and grinning from ear to ear while my face was ashen and a bit expressionless. They asked me why I wasn’t excited. “Because,” I said, “I’ve never felt so on my own, and I’m scared I’m not ready.” My mom, a touchy-feely person, pulled me in for a tight hug and said, “Adrienne, we are so proud of you. If we trust anybody to do great things on their own, it’s you. You will struggle and you will come out better for it. You will be a confident and well-established adult, and that’s all we’ve ever wanted for you.” My parents faith in me made me feel like maybe they were right, maybe college is exactly where I’m supposed to be.