Alyssa Harrington essays

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Alyssa did her senior project with Mamalode. This is a great “see through their eyes” piece… I remember saying goodbye to my mother when I went to college. And it feels like a blink until my boys are graduating. Right now I am poised between the end of my beginning and the beginning of my sons’ end. This piece is a great read. Good luck Alyssa!–Elke

I look back at old photographs and try to remember how it felt to be young, I mean really young. I seem so carefree, sitting atop my favorite horse at the Carousel on my seventh birthday. My only concerns would have been reaching for the Golden Ring or losing a token. Cake before presents or presents before cake? Simple stuff. Things that my future doesn’t depend on.

My hairdresser says my hair is getting thinner because I’m stressed. She’s right. I am. I’m always a little stressed no matter what but change is scary, bottom line, so my stress level has been amplified lately. When I peer into my near future and none of it is familiar, I feel like an unwilling dog on a leash, forced to move forward, tail tucked, legs locked.

I’m going to college at Boise State University in the fall. It’s what I have always wanted for myself, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t want it any less, but the closer it gets the more frazzled I become. I know its normal to feel nervous at this point in my life but feeling it now is almost surreal. Am I even mature enough to be making all these decisions about my future? Do I have what it takes?

I’ve been eighteen for a little over seven months now and I can tell you one thing, I don’t feel like an adult. I feel the same as seventeen. Sure, everybody tells me I have “all this freedom” now but what does freedom in that sense really mean? I can go buy tobacco? Cool! Not. Porn? No Thanks. Maybe I’ll go hold the puppies at Pet Land all by myself, that sounds exciting.

My point is, since I don’t feel like I’ve changed much – and I don’t think I will until I get into college – it is hard to wrap my brain around why all of the sudden everyone is now expecting something from me. Something more. Something big.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I expect big things for myself too. Going to college, earning my degree, finding a good job, marriage, a family. But it’s all cliché. And I know that’s not who I am. I’m not an inside the lines kind of person, so I think the hardest thing is not knowing how to get to where I want to go. How can anyone just know how to reach a destination of uncertainty? I feel like I’m constantly searching for an answer but it seems I will always be waiting for one.

And I’m leaving all my friends behind. This scares me the most because I’ve never been the type to make friends easily; Let’s just say I’m picky. I need people I can feel close to, and I have those people here, my best friends in the entire world. I am going to miss them, something I’m not used to feeling. It’s a looming fear.

My mom tries not to show how hard this is for her, but I know it is. Her first baby is going away and she is going to miss me. But I’m going to miss her more. Even though we butt heads sometimes, I’m not sure she will ever know how much she means to me. Maybe she’ll get a hint when I call her everyday from school, crying because I put too much soap in the laundry and it’s overflowing, or because I am experiencing my first hangover, or my first heartbreak. I’ve needed my mom for eighteen years. I don’t understand how I won’t need her in four months.

I’m excited too. Stress seems to be at the forefront when I face the unknown, but excitement is always lurking. It is the only thing that keeps me going. Its easier knowing I’ll be okay. More than okay. I’ll just keep praying. None of this falls under the disaster category, it’s just a lot to take in and a lot more to think about. Staying positive is key though, and that’s what I’ll do.
So here I go. Off on my own… Go Broncos!

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Alyssa Harrington

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