I believe in following your heart. I graduated from a consolidated rural school and a class of 60. I was the product of the Nebraska foster care system. My new-found parents, my caseworkers, everybody talked about community college and state universities. It wasn’t feasible for a girl with my background to go anywhere else. I told myself I didn’t care how much college cost. I graduated from that high school with a 3.8 GPA. I fought for months to stay at that school. I bought a car with what savings I had to not transfer to the school in my new town, the middle of my junior year. I drove 30 miles each day just to have a privilege to stay in one spot for more than a year or two. I wouldn’t let the family issues weigh me down, and I wasn’t going to give up on my dream for a better education either. After all, I told myself, I deserved it.
So, I applied to a private elite university in Indiana. My acceptance letter came with a full-ride for tuition, room, board, books, you name it. I was crying. I couldn’t believe I had done it. At age 17, I packed up and moved 700 miles to a school I knew nothing about, except that I loved the freedom in their academic programs. In that first semester, I did find freedom. More importantly, I found two loves: the love of that school and the love of my life. When Nathan asked me to marry him, it was like everything was changing. I was turning into one of those lucky people. He lived in Nebraska, though. I packed up my bags, once again. I moved back to the dead end town I came from, attended a college I hated, and ended up single.
Now, I’m studying at a third college, a community college, with a piddly scholarship under my belt, barely making ends meet. He’s sitting upstairs now, though. He’s wearing an old ring around his neck. Some people may wonder why I took him back. I mean, he led me away from the school of my dreams, my ideals of traveling, of life outside these state walls, and brought me back within borders, only to leave me alone. When he left, he was only searching for his heart, and now he’s found it. It’s right in mine.
Even when we weren’t together, I knew that I didn’t regret it for a second. I followed my heart. If our plans to get engaged again this summer don’t work out, I’ll still know that. I believe in following your heart, but that doesn’t mean it won’t take a couple years and a few miles to find it. After all, what’s the point of following if it’s not going anywhere?
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