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Experiences

I Moved To California And Now Attend My Dream College

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been excited about college. I can vividly recall sitting in my room crying hysterically because I wanted to leave my hometown so bad and go to college. I’d always known that I was meant for more than my tiny hometown, and I am so excited that I am branching out. Now that I have been in college for an entire quarter, I’ve decided that my last article of 2021 should be about my experience with it. 

My family takes our studies seriously. My father being a doctor, my mother a successful business owner and accountant, and my brother a recent graduate of New York University, I am a product of a family of intellectual curiosity. I’ve always enjoyed the act of learning, at least when it comes to something I am interested in. 

My mom tells me that the first time I toured UC Irvine in my sophomore year of high school, I lit up. Since then, I knew that I belonged in California. 

At least once a day, I have a moment where I’m like, wow, I actually did it. I actually moved to California and went to one of my dream schools. 

It fills me with a sense of pride and excitement that I cannot even put into words.

As my friends would say, I am in my “thriving arc.” 

It has not been all sunshine and rainbows though. Moving from my tiny, isolated hometown in Colorado to a campus that has double the student population than my entire hometown’s population was definitely a huge change. I wouldn’t say it’s been difficult, per se, but I’ve had my moments. The first few weeks here were filled with socializing and classes and culture shock. Now that I’ve been here for about three months, I am finally starting to settle into a routine. I have my network of friends, and I have my favorite study spots, and I know exactly what time to leave in order to be at my class in time. 

It’s very weird seeing the things I wanted come into fruition. The past few months have been amazing, but something inside me is telling me that something is missing. I am not sure what it is. The happiness I’ve felt here is like no other, and part of me is scared that it’s going to go away. I am actively trying to live in the moment more, but it’s easier said than done. 

The life that I am beginning to build for myself here is already everything I wanted it to be and more, and everyday I’m trying to think of things that can make it better. But with the thoughts of potential improvements, also come the thoughts of anxiety about the future.

I have no idea what the future holds, and that terrifies me. 

My whole life I have felt a sense of urgency, the feeling that I am running out of time. I have no idea what the source is, all I know is that there are so many things that I want to accomplish in this lifetime, and I will do everything in my power to make them happen. 

Moving to California and starting college has been an amazing and necessary step in my life, but it also is providing me with new experiences and things that I was unprepared for. 

For example, the constant fear of earthquakes. I know that to any California native that will sound silly, but in my defense, no dangerous weather phenomena has ever happened in my hometown (besides avalanches, but you can just close your door). It’s the feeling of unexpectedness, of not being in control, which is something I have always struggled with. However, every day that I have spent here, it becomes a little bit more apparent that one does not live in fear of the earthquake, which I think is also applicable in my life. 

One of the biggest takeaways from my first college quarter is that I cannot live in fear. Ever since I was kid, there has always been a tiny voice in my head reminding me of all the things that could go wrong. Moving to California and pursuing college has been something of a calculated risk; I am kind of in awe with myself that I actually did it. But with the execution of something as exciting and risky as moving to California at 17, comes the anxious thoughts and doomsday preparations. Every day has been a slow progression of getting myself to silence that devious little voice, and letting myself take in every single moment. 

I have no idea if I was ready for this or not, but I don’t think it really matters. This first college quarter has been something of a preview for this new chapter in my life. It’s made me laugh, it’s made me cry, and it’s made me walk around Aldrich Park at 11:30 at night in an effort to destress. But I would not trade any of it, and I could not be more excited about what the next three years of college hold. 

Molly Summers

UC Irvine '25

Molly is a first year Literary Journalism major. When she is not in class, Molly enjoys reading, hanging out with friends and drinking copious amounts of iced oat milk lattes. Born and raised in Steamboat, Colorado, Molly has skied and spent the better portion of her life outside. She is very excited to be in southern California for a change and be a part of Her Campus!
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