Moving out for college is strange. While it’s something I’ve looked forward to and anticipated, I cannot help but feel saddened and scared from the sudden change.

I have always wanted to go to college. I love learning, and I’m obsessed with the idea of classrooms filled with kids eager to obtain material and teachers willing to take the risks to challenge their students. But, as my move-out date draws nearer on the calendar, I believe my image of college is only half the picture.

On one side, you see the classrooms and the monstrous textbooks with students’ faces buried in the pages. On the other, you see the dorm rooms with shared bathrooms on each floor and the absence of family and pets. As an avid animal lover, and someone who spends a significant amount of time thrift shopping with my mother, the thought is kind of daunting.

How is my cat going to receive praise in the middle of the night for bringing a live mouse into my bedroom when I’m not around?

Who is going to help my mother delve through the dishes at Savers for her patterned Pyrex dishes?

I know, though, the world will not end. I will still be able to visit my pets on the weekends and holidays. Marvin, also known as Mister Stink for obvious reasons, will hopefully one day be able to kill a mouse and be praised for a job well done. And my mother will be able to search through the dust and shot glasses with pictures of Betty Boop to find her Blue Willow China dishes.

Regardless of my nervousness about leaving my family for the first time, I am excited and ready for college. I lucked out with an excellent roommate, who is quite fortunately exceedingly gifted at math. Plus, there are plenty of cats at the animal shelter that need love.

As far as leaving Santa Fe and moving to the desolate areas of New Mexico known as Socorro County, I am thrilled. As a teenager, I found boredom in the confined walls of art and tourism that line the perimeter of Santa Fe. Even the hiking trails that were supposed to provide some sort of relief from the activities of life were crowded with people and spotted with litter.

Therefore, my relocation about two and a half hours south is welcomed. I look forward to the next four years of my life, whatever they may hold.

Elizabeth Walker, a 2019 Capital High School graduate, will attend the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro in the fall. Contact her at