Friday, January 05, 2007

Run Away

I went to college at a very conservative Christian University right after high school… for less than a week. No, sadly that isn’t a typo. I actually lived in the dorms for a bit longer than that as there were all the Freshman Orientation activities and whatnot but I think I actually made it through less than a full week of classes before I walked my crying self into the registrar’s office and un-enrolled myself from college. My poor mother was literally speechless when I called her to tell her I was coming home but good news (!) I got all of my tuition reimbursed. She was not amused. But it was too late, what was done was done.

The following morning… It was a Tuesday… I packed up my entire half of the dorm as my roommate and her sister* watched and tried to make me laugh. Her boyfriend carried my one suitcase and only box down to my car which contained such things as a mini coffee maker that I just had to have for my new dorm life. I set off early, about 7:00 am, thinking I would miss some of the LA traffic. Ha! What a naïve little person I was. I should have left at like 2:00 am!

But that’s neither here nor there… The real question is why? Why did I leave?

I’ve always given the same two answers when people have asked me this question in the past so I’ll start with them now. I stand behind them as I do think that they played a big part in my decision to run away from school that fateful day.

Reason #1 – I realized that I’m not as conservative as I had been pretending to be all those years. Notice I didn’t say that I realized I wasn’t a Christian. I did then and do now believe in God. I just got to school, a very staunchly conservative school and realized that I was spending a lot of time looking around me thinking “are these people for real?” Aside from setting up my own reality check booth in the center of campus I realized there wasn’t much I could do. I was the odd ball there. Even my fellow faith bound readers can understand what I mean… We’ve all met the type. (One girl in particular comes to mind from my youth group days…) Over the top and holier than thou. But to be surrounded by them? Outnumbered? For four years?

Reason #2 – I was HOME. SICK. I mean like physically. The track at the University ran underneath the building where the married students and some of the younger faculty lived. I remember one morning I was out there running fairly early (hello So Cal heat!) and the longing to see my mother hit me so hard I literally doubled over in pain and had to sit down in the middle of the track. One of the women from that building must have seen me because she came down in her PJs to offer me water because she thought I had collapsed. I had never been that far away from home before. I missed my mom. I missed my friends. I missed my (sorry ass excuse for a) boyfriend.

I don’t know if either of those reasons is good enough for any of you to run away and abandon college but that afternoon when all was looking bleak it was enough for me. And y’all I was SCARED. It’s scary to walk in to the admissions office and ask to be un-admitted. Especially when you’d spent a YEAR trying to explain why you should be admitted in the first place!

I. WAS. SCARED. And that, my friends, is the real (and heretofore unmentioned) real reason why I ran away from college that day almost 10 years ago. I sat in my classes and was surrounded by people who seemed like they had their shit together you know? And I was so overwhelmed by the amount of work that was piling up and it was only the first week! No one else seemed to be concerned. Granted, looking back, I can see that I had signed myself up for some serious honors level courses and therefore most of my classmates were sophomores and had a year of this college thing under their belts so no wonder they were calm but to my scared little homesick eye… I just didn’t think I was going to cut it.

Sort of like my mini-freak out of the past two days. I’m telling you guys this college thing is a lot of work! And I am out of practice! This week coming off a two week break for the holidays I was so overwhelmed by the amount of work I had left to complete in a mere 10 days that I was quite literally stunned into inactivity. I would lay away at night and wonder if I was doing the right thing and one particular morning (Wednesday?) I had pretty much convinced myself to call my academic counselor and withdraw from my current class… if not from school all together.

Thankfully I have wonderful friends who are great champions (and who really should stop giving me shit about being a cheerleader in high school cause y’all? Really really good at cheerleading! I’m just saying…) and managed to talk some sense into me. I just have to keep my eye on the goal right? Also, maybe it would help if I reminded myself that I’m not quite as stupid as I feel. Sometimes. I feel better. And the urge to run away has passed. This time. Because I think you can run away from your fears sometimes but eventually you have to turn around and face them.

*Twins (sophmores) from China – I impressed them by actually being able to count to ten in Cantonese on my first day in the dorm. It’s one of BFL’s favorite stupid drunken party tricks of mine.


Liz said...

You had a completely valid reason for leaving that (COUGH) school. I was going to mention something more rude, but decided to actually be an adult. Yay me! Being that far away from home, with no one, in So Cal (teehee), feeling out of place, is an extremely valid reason. At least to me.

Oh and at least when we cheerlead you, we don't wear tiny pleated skirts and hold handfuls of of shredded plastic. TEEHEE, I love you. (I just had to get that in)

Goat said...

But some of us like the tiny pleated skirts... (y'all know I JUST had to get that one in!) :P

Tiff, I can very well understand that scared feeling because I feel it too. The Navy has been an easy life, you go where you're told to, do what you're told to and you train so much for the surprises that if they happen, you respond the way you were trained to. Pretty easy life. Well that life is coming to an end for me, this time next year I have to start facing as a civilian. I'll be going out trying to find a job in an environment that is foreign to me, I won't have the security knowing I can't get fired unless I REALLY screw up and basically I'm going to have to grow up.

Right now to me you are one of those people that has their shit together. You're working on your degree, you've got a job, you've been in a relationship with the same person for over a year....all things I don't have but wish I did. (yes I have a 'job' but there's a big difference between your job and my job - again, I can't get fired or quit...) Nobody has a perfect life but I think you're doing pretty darn good and even though you're a bit younger (no comments from the peanut gallery) than me you still inspire me and I'm glad to know you.

Tiff, I really like your last line - 'eventually you have to turn around and face them.' that is so very true.

Something else that you have that really falls into the priceless category - Friends. You've got friends that really care about you, they'll cheer you up when you're sad, they'll support you as you try to reach your goals and most importantly, they'll kick you in your tush when you need it. I'm really happy to hear you're driving a head with the work for your class, the hardest part is getting started and you're already beyond that!!!


Melina said...

I'm glad you're going back now, you obviously weren't at a place you felt comfortable and you weren't ready. There's no shame in that. You're ready now--no running away! Save that for the track :)

Email me if you need any proofreading done...that's the beauty of having an English teacher as a blog friend.

Tiffany said...

Liz - watch out - I still have some of those "handfuls of shredded plastic" around here someplace!

Shawn - Wow - you think I have my shit together? :D This little Texan girl's flattered! But seriously... you're right I do have the world's best friends. And you do too. Next year you'll find the same scary days I found and someone will be there to be your cheerleader. Call me - I'll waive a pom pom for you.

Melina - Tough love huh? And really? I could totally use that! :D