packing life into a suitcase

“let’s do this!”

If you would’ve told me a year ago that I’d actually be attending my dream summer program, I probably would’ve laughed and prayed a little bit. I also would’ve gone into my room, tapped the program invitations that were taped over my light switch (anything in the name of summer program superstition) and glanced over the dozen sticky notes that were plastered all over them, all with things like: “Get that SAT grind!” “You’ve got this!” “Seriously, spend time on that application!”

If you would’ve told me that on a Saturday morning in April I would’ve hopped into my dad’s car after my AP Calculus practice exam and had a letter fall on me with a “Congrats!” stamp, I would’ve laughed a little and returned to my room to tap the program invitations yet again.

Since my sophomore year, I have collected the Medill Cherubs brochures that edged their way into my mail box, and I had been waiting until I was old enough to apply for the program. I shuffled my way through the brochures every now and then, never forgetting to run my fingers along them as I headed out my bedroom door each morning.

Laying in bed now, I’m starting to realize that the best summer of my life is ahead of me. It’s almost surreal, thinking that a program I prepped for for two years is finally becoming a reality for me: a small gal from Phoenix who doesn’t even have a newspaper at her school. Sure, I write for local magazines and I’ve gained other experience, but I’ve caught myself thinking “What if I’m the only one who’s not an editor-in-chief” several times.

Packing up my sunny Arizona life for a few weeks in windy (and often chilly) Evanston, Illinois, is quite the difference. I didn’t really consider how many things you need in order to live on a college campus for a few weeks until now. As I pack my life into a tiny suitcase, I’m thinking about roommates, meals, and assignments. I’m thinking about if I’ll be brave enough to sing in front of my new friends, how much they’ll want to know about life back home, and if there’s maybe someone else from Arizona on their way as well.

The college lifestyle is starting to creep up on me and I’m incredibly excited. Being away from home for 5 weeks will definitely be the first experience of its kind for me, but I seriously can’t wait to meet dozens of people who are all my age and passionate about the same thing that I am. I’m sure you’ll all hear tons about it along the way, and you can always see what I’m up to here or on @andthenemma.

In regards to final thoughts, all I can think about is the phrase that I found on this cute Target headband in the dollar section. “Let’s Do This.”

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