WVU Roller coaster

The month was August. The year was 2005. I was moving away from home for the first time in my life. Excited to say the least. I was moving to Morgantown, West Virginia to attend West Virginia University. I was accepted earlier in the year and the anticipation was killing me, but the day was finally here. My bags were packed and I thought to myself, “This is going to be the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Move in date was the last week of the month in August and classes were to start the following week. My parents were going to drive me the three hours it takes to get down there because as a freshman, I was not allowed my own car. During the drive I made a mix tape of several songs over the past year that I really enjoyed. It consisted of “Green Day”, “Three Doors Down”, “Staind”, and several other bands that I cannot remember exactly.

Finally, we arrive and I remember a getting out of the car and smelling the air for the first time. The best way I can describe it is smooth. The air just felt clean. Erie, where I am from, the air feels stuffy, and this fresh air in Morgantown felt good. The elevators were completely jam packed for moving so we decided to carry what we could up the stairs on the side of the apartment building. The first trip up the stairs I saw something I never have before. At about the fifth floor, a praying mantis the size of a large rat was on top of the steps. I had never seen one and after that I was sort of alright that I didn’t beforehand. Everyone was a bit freaked out and did everything we could to not walk directly underneath it.

Several hours later, I was finally moved into my apartment. It was time to say goodbye to the parents. This would be the first time I would not be going back with them in my life. I thought it may be hard, but I was actually still filled with as much excitement that I started with. We said our goodbyes and I went upstairs to introduce myself to my new roommates.

The first month was amazing. I was holding my own when it came to grades and experiencing the college life at the extreme. At the time, West Virginia was ranked as the fourth best party school in the nation. I partied hard. Whether it came to the clubs, frat parties, house parties, or just partying in my room, I was partying. It was freedom for me. It was something I never experienced before and I could not get enough of it. I was contemplating joining a frat the first month. This all came crashing down.

After the lure of a new place with the new freedoms wore off, I started to get home sick. What made it even worse, is I received an e-mailing telling me that my mid-term grades were in, and let’s say they- were not what I thought they would be. I realized, right then, that I needed to correct this or I wouldn’t be enrolled in school very much longer.

Around the middle to the end of October, I made a change. I stopped the hardcore partying and informed the frat that I would not be making a pledge. I was real down after making that decision because the guys almost became a home away from home family. They were there for me anytime of the day, but with my grades slipping, I knew I couldn’t devote my time to both. This only made the home sickness worse.

A month went by both my grades and my depression level went up. I began secluding myself from people to get back on the right track. It was really tough after “living it up” the way I was. Every time I got really homesick, I would play the mix I listened to on the way down to WVU. Even to this day, when I hear one of those songs, I get extremely nostalgic.

Towards the end of November, Christmas movies started to come on TV. Most of the time, things were joyous for me while watching Christmas movies. It was something I really enjoyed. But, not this time. “Home Alone” came on and I decided to watch it. Halfway through the movie, I broke down and started crying. All my emotions that had built up were suddenly released. “Home Alone” was one of my mother’s favorite movies and thinking of her while watching it must have triggered something in me. I called her on the phone and made an extremely hard decision. I decided it was time to come home at the end of the term. One of my good friends drove down to get me and I never looked back.

Even though WVU was in my rear-view, the thought of it was not. I was not me when I came back. I had long hair, well what I considered long, and I was extremely quiet. Being quiet is not me. People noticed; they were always asking me what was wrong, being used to me being loud and outgoing. I would just tell them “nothing,” which there really wasn’t anymore, but for some reason, I stayed quiet. It took several weeks of being around my family and friends for the old me to come back out. I always have kept a little bit of me from WVU.

From my acceptance letter to the last day I was in Morgantown, my emotions towards the entire situation took a complete 180. I went from completely overwhelmed with excitement to completely depressed and down. With this experience, I realized that I was just not ready to be away from my friends and family back in Erie and that moving away at that time in my life was not as great as it seemed it would be. I realized that not everything that seems excited actually is until you experience for yourself!

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