I stepped outside this evening to take the trash out. It was a cold day here in New Hampshire. We've had the pellet stove running all day, and when you go outside, combined with the scent of fallen leaves and cold earth is fireplace smoke. It took me back to college.
It's September of my freshman year of college and although I'm lucky enough to have a single room, I've decided to change things up and do homework at the library.
The UNH library is a beautiful space. I enter the main floor and choose the largest reading room to the right. I choose a spot against one of the windows that faces the front of the campus. I click on the reading lamp, rather unnecessarily, but want to have the full experience. Around me are countless other students, all bent toward a common goal. It is dark outside, and I can see the glimmer of street lights on the main street. I can see lights illuminating various other dorm rooms near my own (the library was only a short walk across the main street). I envision what may be going on in these rooms; friends talking or watching television, couples having sex, people doing homework.
It doesn't take long for me to complete my work. I pack up my belongings.
I step into the crisp night air and catch a whiff of the ocean. I'm overcome with happiness. I love being a college student. I love being in this environment of learning, but most of all I love the independence. Although I've always been close with my family (and always will be), I love the feeling of choosing my study location and walking back to my room alone. I love the freedom associated with making my own decisions. I had craved this my entire teenage life, and now it was finally happening.
The sliding glass doors to my dorm open and I push the elevator button. My room is on the top floor, and I couldn't be happier - I love the feeling of being up high and having a view. I open the door to my room. My room. I feel so grown up. I'll probably call home and talk about my day. Mention that I went to the library to do homework. Alone. And act exasperated when my mother worries that I was walking the short distance back to my dorm by myself. I was perfectly safe. (honestly, I was.)
I have only begun college and I love every aspect. That fall was the beginning of some of the best years of my life.