I grew up in Stockdale, a small town about an hour south of San Antonio. When I say small, I mean one blinking traffic light, one Dairy Queen and four Mexican restaurants. I’m also an only child so my decision to move four hours away to College Station after high school was a shock to my family.
Luckily, I wasn’t going alone. I met Kadie during spring break of my senior year. We instantly became close and decided to move in together. I thought getting away from home and experiencing life would be the best decision of my life. I was wrong.
That August, we moved into a four-bedroom apartment with two teen girls the apartment complex paired us with. Jaycee and Sarah Beth were childhood best friends from Houston who seemed to have their entire lives planned.
I was intimidated. Kadie and I had only met a few months before, and I had never lived with anyone but my parents. I had never even been away from home for more than a couple weeks.
Kadie and I enrolled in Blinn College in Bryan while Jaycee and Sarah Beth attended Texas A&M University. About two months into the semester, I was completely failing as a student. I already had a couple of meltdowns, crying like my life was ending to my childhood best friend back in Stockdale. I missed my parents, my bed, home-cooked dinners and I was tired of PB&J sandwiches and Ramen noodles.
I wasn’t doing great in my English class because my high school style of writing was “incorrect.” My history professor noted: My high school coach didn’t teach us enough about America because he was too busy making football plays. My math teacher was shocked that I didn’t know simple college algebra. And I was so tired from trying to keep up with my other classes I never studied for my first aid class.
It was not going well for me. I wasn’t passing my classes. I was scared to drop anything because I thought I needed 12 credit hours to keep my loans. Worst of all, I still couldn’t find a job. I worked at Sonic Drive-In from the day I turned 16 to the day before I left for college.
At Toy’s ‘R’ Us, I was informed I was “over-qualified.” No one seemed to be hiring.
Christmas break couldn’t have come at a better time. I barely passed my classes. My apartment was becoming a war zone. I knew I wanted to be in college, but I was confused.
One day my mom told me she didn’t see me as a veterinarian but more as an E! News reporter or working for a magazine in New York. That was my dream job. I was only going to be a vet because my dad always said doctors and vets make a lot of money. I was going to college for all the wrong reasons. As soon as I realized that, everything made sense. The day I got back to College Station, I changed my major. That’s when I decided to study journalism. I also knew I would be moving home at the end of the term.
Unfortunately, I still struggled through my classes. The problems in my apartment made it clear that focusing purely on school wasn’t going to happen. Kadie and I were growing apart. There was constant bickering about groceries or going to parties or inviting people over. Everything became an argument.
We all lived off of our parents, scholarships and loans. Luckily in February, Kadie’s uncle was able to get all four of us a job with a catering company. It was exciting at first. Then we realized we would be with each other at work and at home.
So my grades that semester were low, again. I was working almost every day, and if I wasn’t, I was asleep, physically and mentally exhausted.
I was counting down the days until my last final. I knew once I was back at my parents’ house, I wouldn’t be interrupted. Although I still talk to my roommates, I knew I would do better in school if I went home.
I wasn’t making bad life choices in College Station; I just couldn’t focus while I was there.
I returned to Stockdale in May and soon we moved to Universal City where I enrolled in Northeast Lakeview. In one semester, I raised my GPA from a 1.7 to 2.8. I have a good waitressing job, and transferred to this college and Texas A&M-San Antonio. I am the social media and calendar editor at The Ranger.
Coming home happened at the best time possible, but I don’t regret moving away. I needed to experience life outside of my small town.