Thoughts on Adulthood
Homesickness slides down my throat and settles in my stomach, a heavy weight that keeps me rooted to the unfamiliar bed. The sounds of a stranger’s breaths waft across the room and fill my ears, too loud in the dark night. I want to leave. I want to go home to my own house and my own bed and my own sister across the room. I don’t want to be in this dormitory with the lumpy mattress and the musty smell and the roommate.
My fingers ache from writing, but I don’t dare lift my pen from the page. I continue to scrawl my thoughts and musings and words, praying that something decent will come from them.
Fear greets me at the door to the dining hall, smirking at me as I hover uncertainly, clutching a tray lined with food I am too nervous to eat. The camera zooms out and pans across the room full of laughing groups I wish I were a part of. Like a bad teen movie, I cannot figure out where I belong.
My classmates are far more talented than I will ever be, and I can’t help but resent them. They create beauty out of thin air in mere minutes, while I struggle to organize my thoughts into sentences.
Exhaustion seeps into my bones and presses on my eyelids, but I do not succumb. I’ve realized that there are too many stories to tell and games to play and poems to write. I have learned to fight through the fatigue and keep moving. I walk and I laugh and I write and I read and I discuss and I learn and I eat and I sleep and I do it all over again day after day.
My mother calls, and I dash for the stairwell, settling into the quiet place to talk to her. I barely register the concern in her voice, my mind too busy running over tomorrow’s schedule to hear about how empty the house feels without me. I’m caught up in my new life away from home, and I no longer miss my family or my bedroom or my hometown.
Hope fills my lungs and explodes out of my body with every breathe I release. I start to believe that I do belong here. I thought I was alone that first night, but when I look at the crowd of laughing people gathered around the table, I realize that I’m surrounded by friends.
I have conquered the laundry room and the dining hall and life with a roommate. These things seemed terrifying and insurmountable to me on that first day, but now they come naturally. In fourteen days, I have embraced freedom, welcomed independence, and even made a few deals with responsibility.
Misery wraps around me, choking me, as my friends drag their suitcases bursting with notebooks and memories down the hall. Soon enough, I’ll have to get in a car that will take me eight hours away to the place I have always considered home. I will return to my regularly scheduled life of high school and siblings and childhood, but I will miss my time spent on Kenyon’s campus.
My suitcase sits in the middle of my bedroom, and I reluctantly pull the zipper and unload the contents. With each notebook I remove, each crumpled t-shirt I yank out, my freedom and independence slip away a little more. I could tighten my grip and hold them to me with all my strength, but instead I choose to let them go. They put in a lot of time these past two weeks, and they deserve a break. I’ll give them some time to relax and recharge, but I know they’ll be back soon enough.
This is the essay I submitted to all of the colleges I applied to through the Common Application. The prompt was to describe my transition from childhood to adulthood. I was accepted into nine out of twelve schools, though I'm not sure if it was because of this essay or in spite of it. Either way, I have made my decision and chosen a school with a fantastic Creative Writing program, so I'll be headed off to college in the fall!