My life as a free-spirited and careless college freshman ended before it even started. I had graduated high school with the notion that I would attend a school far away from home and begin the next chapter of my life. Little did I know at the time that what I thought was a small decision I had made almost 4 years ago, would end up being life-altering. Sometimes it really is the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.
I had been dating my boyfriend Paul* for nearly two years since my junior year of high school. My parents weren’t so keen on the idea of me leaving home right after high school to attend college so far away, but ultimately left the decision up to me. I had gotten into a small college in Pittsburgh, eight hours away from my home in New York and eight hours away from Paul. At the time he was going to a commuter school nearby and still living at home. He told me then that if I decided to attend the school in Pittsburgh he was going to break up with me because he couldn’t handle a long distance relationship. Because I didn’t want to deal with the pain of what it would be like if he broke up with me, I opted to attend the same community college instead of going to school in Pittsburgh. I figured if I went to the community college, it might be a good way to not only continue to stay close with him, but also to raise my GPA and then transfer to an even better school than the one I originally thought I’d attend. It meant putting off my dream of living in a college dorm and having a typical college girl’s lifestyle right away, but I knew in time I would make it there anyway and I didn’t want to disappoint the person I loved.