Today was my first day of college.
Dana came by early so we could ride to class together. Just like the first day of high school, we were both excited and terrified for what the future might bring.
“I can’t believe we’re going to be college students!” She exclaimed. “I feel old.”
I laughed at my best friend’s familiar sense of humor. “I know, right? It feels like I was just a freshman in high school.”
“I know, right?” She breathed, looking out the car window of the passenger seat.
Dana hates driving, so she managed to talk me into being the one to get us there.
There was a pause for a moment, as we both thought back to freshman year.
“I was so awkward as a freshman.” She said, with a cringe.
“Me too.” I nodded, keeping my eyes on the road. “I had a horrible acne problem and my social skills weren’t quite there yet.”
“Hey, at least you didn’t attach any bunny clip to your backpack! I thought it was cute but all the other girls thought it was childish – it was humiliating!”
“Well, now we have a chance to make a fresh start.” I took a turn as I spoke. “We have four years here – I guess now is the time to figure out who we’re going to be. What we’re going to change and what we’re going to take with us.”
“Well, I’m definitely taking my best friend with me!” She said, grinning. “And my faith.” Dana added, followed by a long pause.
We were silent for a moment. We both knew what the other was thinking, as we’ve had this conversation multiple times before this day. With the popularity of movies like God’s Not Dead, we were both terrified that we’d get a professor like the one in the movie. We’ve both heard the horror stories of universities and we were both worried that we’d end up living one of them.
“We just have to stay strong.” I said, trying to sound more confident than I felt. “I’m sure whatever happens, God will give us a way out.”
“I hope you’re right.” She turned to me as we pulled into the parking lot.
It was about ten times bigger than Holy Cross, the small private school that we grew up in. People flooded towards the campus from every direction – some texting, some talking to someone else, and some skateboarding. The freshman there all had the same fate ahead of them.
In just a few minutes, we’ll be walking into a whole new world.
I exhaled and got out of the car. This was it.
“We’re in this together.” Dana said, walking up to me.
“Right.” I smiled, looking back to my friend. “Together.”
With that, we began heading for the building, in search of another familiar face. Suddenly, as we were walking, we heard our names being called.
“Hey, Olivia! Dana!”
Dana glanced at me with a freaked-out look on her face. “They’ve been expecting us!”
I turned around and as soon as I saw where the voice was coming from I laughed. “Hey TJ.”
“Hey.” He said, walking up to us, wearing his familiar letterman jacket from high school. “What’s up?”
“Not much, just college. You?”
“Same.” He said, glancing around. “Have you seen Nathan?”
I adjusted my backpack and tried to look nonchalant. “No, you?”
“No, but he’s got to be somewhere. Our class is supposed to start soon and we’re in the same room. I was thinking we’d head over together.”
“Hey guys!” I heard a familiar voice say from a distance. I turned around to see Nathan rushing towards us. Dana shot me a familiar grin, the way she often does when we both see Nathan, since she knows I like him.
“So,” he asked, shoving his hands in his pockets
“So,” he asked, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Are you guys ready for college?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be.” Dana said, glancing at the frighteningly large building.
“What classes do you guys have?” TJ asked.
“English, Math, College Success, and Speech.” I replied, looking at my class list.
If I don’t have a printed list of my classes, their numbers, and a map, I’m sure to get lost.
“Nice.” He said, with his signature smile.
I whipped my phone out of my pocket and glanced at it. “I guess I’d better get going.”
To the first day of the rest of my life.
“Alright, we should all meet up again for lunch though – try to stick together.” Nathan commented.
“Yeah, let’s meet back here around twelve – no one has any classes around that time, right?”
We all shook our heads.
“Great, catch up with you guys later.” TJ said, walking towards the towering maroon building.
“Later.” I breathed, unable to take my eyes of the building, which looked frightening and a bit like a county jail. But then, that’s probably just my imagination getting the best of me. “I guess I’ll get going too.” I told my friends as I held tightly to the straps of my backpack.
“Bye Liv!” Dana exclaimed as I began walking.
“Bye Dana, bye Nathan!” I called back.
Suddenly, my friends got smaller and smaller in a distance.
As did my old life.