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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

When I began completing my college applications about a year ago, I anticipated the “big cry” — a group hug with my family standing in a puddle of tears, followed by a night of sobbing into my pillow at the realization that I was now all on my own.

I knew that I wanted to go to school out-of-state, leave my sheltered suburban life in Boca Raton, Florida, and join a diverse, intellectually stimulating community in the city. That dream landed me in Boston, Massachusetts, and I couldn’t be happier.

However, when my parents and brother dropped me off at the George Sherman Union to attend orientation after a morning of moving me into Warren Towers, there wasn’t a tear shed, at least not from me. I questioned my apparent lack of emotion, not knowing why I couldn’t push out a few tears, even just for show. 

I initially chalked it up to paralysis of overwhelm, what with there being a lot of welcome events, meeting many new people all at once, and saying my major and hometown a million times while forgetting everyone else’s immediately. 

This would be a fair hypothesis. It’s completely normal for us humans to subconsciously turn down our emotional valves when life grows hectic. We’ve all put off ruminating on an argument with a friend to study for a test or to get through a group hangout without waging a war at a restaurant table.

Unfortunately for my dilemma of over-self-analysis, I realized after about a month at Boston University that I was no longer overstimulated by events and people, and my feelings were the same. I began to reflect on my persisting ambitions surrounding higher education and life after high school.

I first visited Boston when I was 12 with my family on spring break.

My parents planned out our days to walk the Freedom Trail, eat and shop at Quincy Market, and look at marine life at the Boston Aquarium, among other attractions. While the historical and interactive sites proved highly enjoyable for my tween self, I clearly remember the joy I experienced from simply walking down the city street, seeing the buildings of various heights and architectural styles, and observing the passersby in stylish streetwear that I could only fantasize about wearing at that age.

It was then that I knew that I wanted to go to college in the city, as scary as it seemed at the time to leave the suburbs of South Florida. My parents, who are overprotective despite what they may think, expressed their nerves discreetly. They constantly joked that I could just go to the University of Florida and stay close to home, or that my dad could go to school with me and become the “dorm dad.” 

However, I knew that my parents couldn’t hold my hand through life. I had discovered a passion for writing and set my sights on studying journalism at one of three major news hubs in the United States: New York City, Boston, or Washington, D.C. Despite their nerve-induced wishes, I applied to several schools in these areas, and luckily, BU is where I ended up. 

So why haven’t I shed even one tear? I came to the realization that it wasn’t that I didn’t miss my family; I’m thrilled by my newfound independence.

I have yearned to be on my own for as long as I’ve ever known — always having the understanding that the city would be where my creativity would thrive, where I would garner inspiration, and where I would truly become the best version of myself. I have never been more sure of something in my life, so my lack of emotion is not some bout of unfeeling, cold-blooded self-excommunication from my former life. What I’m experiencing is true happiness and contentment with my new life, and that has brought me inner peace of mind and readiness for all that’s to come. 

At the end of the day, it’s okay not to cry when your family drops you off at college. It’s the first day of the rest of your life: rejoice in it! You worked all your life to get here, so give yourself a pat on the back for how far you’ve come and strap in for the next four years.

I know that my parents know my dry eyes don’t indicate that I don’t miss them; they indicate that I am ready for this next chapter of my life.

I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me!

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Lauren Albano is a weekly writer at the Her Campus at Boston University chapter. At Her Campus, she shares personal experiences and reflects on different aspects of her life as a new college student. Her goal is to convey her feelings in a way that readers can relate to, helping both the reader and herself to understand and stomach the exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, college experience. Beyond Her Campus, Lauren is an opinion columnist at The Daily Free Press and a writer for Off The Cuff magazine and Boston Political Review. She works on the show On That Point on BUTV10 and interns on Listen Up! on WTBU radio. She is currently a freshman at Boston University, majoring in Journalism. In her free time, Lauren enjoys playing soccer and flag football and going for walks along the Charles River. She likes to listen to music and podcasts, read literary fiction, and make cold brew coffee in her dorm. She also loves to write outside of her journalistic work and dreams of publishing her first book one day. She is an avid fan of Big Brother when she isn’t rewatching The Office or Impractical Jokers. Her all-time favorite movie is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.