I Didn’t Cry When My Parents Dropped Me Off at College

By Emma Kopelowicz

Every teenager dreams about the day they get to escape from the high school bubble/the comforts of home to see what all the fuss is surrounding college. Movies, TV shows, and just about anyone who went to college all seem to say the same thing: college is where all the cool and interesting stuff happens.

By the end of my junior year of high school, I was ready to bolt out the door and get this college ball rolling already. I needed change and I needed it ASAP. I only applied to schools on the opposite coast so that I could experience something radically different in terms of weather/life from the Los Angeles rhythm I had grown accustomed to. I spent all of my senior year hyping myself up for this next important step in my life, and on particularly rough days I would concentrate on the mantra: “It’s going to get better. It’s going to get better. It’s going to get better.”

When I finally made it to graduation, after what felt like centuries, a tiny bit of panic crept up on me. Wait, so that’s it? High school is over? Just like that? Am I ready for this? All the feels came crashing in, one thing led to another, and I found myself bawling in the car in my driveway listening to “Cigarette Daydreams” (my go-to “in my feelings” anthem).

I was an emotional wreck for about 25 minutes, and then I was back to smooth sailing. That was the last time I cried about college, and it wasn’t even really about college. I cried that day because I was saying goodbye to my high school self. I was nervous to meet my college self, but my excitement outweighed my anxiety.

Three months of hanging out with friends and family (and my dog, of course), going to concerts, and having an easy summer job as an usher at a music amphitheater were just the activities I needed to get me back to my previous mental state of excited bliss. Next thing I knew, I was wheeling around four giant duffel bags full of clothes and dorm decor at Logan Airport.

My parents had already sent two kids off to school, so they were no strangers to the art of moving into a dorm. Once my band-postered and fairy-lit masterpiece was complete, I noticed my mom blinking away tears, but my eyes still felt dry. Was I a sadist for not crying when the people who raised me were going to leave me all the way across the country?

The simple answer is no. There is no official rulebook that decrees all children must cry when their parents drop them off. It may be the natural reaction for some people, but for me, it would have felt forced and dishonest.

I was standing in my very own dorm in a city brimming with new possibilities. How could I possibly feel the need to turn around and go home when so much lay ahead of me? By that point, there was no lingering doubt holding me back.

I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a loving home with two wonderful parents, who raised me well (or so I’ve been told). My parents and I both knew that it was time for me to go out and expand my horizons, and see the what else the world has to offer. This notion made the prospect of leaving my parents for only a few months not as a scary, and definitely not tear-inspiring.

 

Don’t worry, mom and dad, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. :)

 

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