And so the Journey Began. . .

There were tears that day, but not as many as would come later. After spending my entire life in the tiny little German-town of Hermann where I was practically raised by the other inhabitants of the close-knit community, it was much harder to say goodbye than I expected.

In high school, we had all talked about moving away and “I can’t wait to get out of this town,” but when the day finally came, not a single one of us were ready to leave just yet. After all, how do you replace all of the memories you’ve made with the people you’ve known for legitimately your whole life? It’s impossible.

As I drove away from Hermann that day, my parents and boyfriend, Daniel, in tow, each carting various dorm essentials in their own respective vehicles, I felt like I was losing a part of myself. Waving goodbye to the town that I loved – that loved me – I thought I would never get it back.

Location: Hermann, MO
Population: 2,366

Too quickly I arrived at my new “home,” nestled away at the very corner of the Mizzou campus. When I had visited during Summer Welcome, Mark Twain appeared to almost glow in the late afternoon sunlight. It was a huge, friendly giant of which I couldn’t wait to call myself a resident. There were even trees on the premises – it was perfect! Or so I thought.

By the time everything had been moved into my room, on the sixth floor no less, I had had time to create a little game with myself called, “What Have I Gotten Myself Into?” The premise was simple: every time I felt my stomach clench or my breath hitch in my throat or my mind turn to extremes or an overwhelming desire to jump out of the nearest window, I would give myself one point.

After my parents and my boyfriend said their final goodbyes late that night, yelling “I love you”s and “I miss you”s down the hallway, I closed the door slowly, still reeling with nerves and a feeling not far from that of the flu.
I had stopped counting when the points were over 60.
I was never going to survive.

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