For me and many others, college is the first time we will leave home and our home state for such a long period of time.

And as the time for finalizing housing assignments and shopping for dorm essentials draws near, I have been thinking more and more about all of the things I will miss about my home. Though I’m not leaving forever, knowing I won’t see the people in my circle as often, and my classmates and friends will go their separate ways to different parts of the country, fills me with so much sadness and pride at the same time.

I’ve lived in Santa Fe all my life. I’ve always wanted to go out of state for college, but I know there will be so much I will miss, like the sunsets, the fall colors and walking through the hallways of my high school each morning.

I realize now there was so much that I took for granted or didn’t appreciate as much as I should have. People around me saw me grow up and showed me unconditional love and support. Stepping away from all of that — even if it’s only until the next holiday break — seems unfathomable.

For the classes of 2020 and 2021, who didn’t get to experience many of the special senior moments, this is even more true. We learned to treasure the fleeting moments we could spend together as a class.

There’s lots of uncertainty, too — that I will be able to do well in college, that I will be able to support myself and that I will form new friendships that are as close as the ones that I formed in high school.

What if I’m always late to class? What if I can’t make friends? What if I forget everything I’ve learned and do terrible in class?

Similarly, like many others, I feel completely unprepared for any of the “adulting” that comes with college, and while I know my parents are always willing to help when needed, I can’t help but feel unprepared and overwhelmed with all of the details that I still have to work out.

I know lots of people before me had these same feelings and worries. Maybe everything will turn out OK, and I’ll look back and wonder what I was so worried about. Or maybe things won’t go as planned. And maybe there isn’t much that I can do about that.

But for what it’s worth, I’m going to do my best to tell the people in my life that I appreciate them, and I’m going to spend these last few months with the people I love.

Niveditha Bala will attend the University of Texas at Dallas in the fall. Contact her at balaniveditha@gmail.com.

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