By the time I graduate high school, I will have lived in the same town, in the same house, and in the same room for eighteen years. Also, I will have gone to the same school for thirteen of them. I go on about one “vacation” a year to my family reunion that lasts a weekend at the most and is held very close to home.
Judging by my sheltered circumstances, one might make the accurate assumption that I haven’t seen much of the world and my horizons have not yet been broadened. I can only imagine how spectacular the rest of the world is; the rest of the country even! My desire to go out into the world, to see and do, experience and learn, makes me feel personally and directly tied to the quote, “She’s got dreams too big for this town, but she’ll never leave until she decides where she’d rather be.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I have lived a wonderful life so far, and enjoyed this town to the fullest. But as the end of my high school career grows near, I have to face the biggest decision of my life thus far. Should I stay or should I go? Even though going to college out of state would be a big deal and a huge change for me, everything in my life has pointed me in that direction. Hot Springs, Arkansas, has been the beautiful backdrop to one amazing childhood and to an epic high school experience. I’ve worked for the past eleven years preparing myself for college by throwing myself into anything I attempt and never accepting mediocrity from myself. Everything I’ve accomplished and everything I’ve learned leads me to believe that I’ve done what I can here, and that my hometown has already succeeded in making a profound imprint on my life. But my dreams are too big for this town.
I am so ready to live, work, and go to school in a new place; be the new girl for once! To start over, not because I resent the life I’ve led here, but because it’s been so wonderful; so much more that I could have ever asked for, that when the time comes for college, I yearn to simply close this chapter of my life and begin a totally new one. I’m ready to challenge myself by not having the safety net of my parents to fall back on. They’ve been everything to me, and it’s about time that I show them that all they’ve done for me has paid off exponentially. Leaving them behind will be tough, as will going off into the world without my friends for the first time. But I have no doubt in my mind that the relationships I’ve made here have made me a better person, and I will never truly be without my loved ones as long as I live in the way which I know would make them proud. I’m sure they’ll understand that my dreams are too big for this town.
Hot Springs has been the setting of a life in which I loved and laughed, struggled and succeeded, messed up and made memories, was bored half the time and stressed much of the rest. I experienced frustrations and heartbreak and had the most amazing moments with the best friends all the while learning a devoting myself to the friendships and relationships that have shaped this life, and this person that I have become. All of this I will take with me into the world, and these are the things that will make leaving all I have ever known the most difficult of any bittersweet goodbye that I can imagine.
Although I’ve loved this town, this time, this life, I know I’m destined for more somehow. I feel that this is not the place for me, and that I’m meant to experience many more heart stopping, view changing, life altering moments somewhere else; at least for the next several years. Who knows? I may miss my hometown, friends, and family too much and come back home after college. But how will I ever know if I don’t take that chance? And although I can’t bear to leave my home and life behind until I find that “somewhere” I’d rather be, I know in my heart that I need to find a place where I can really make a difference, and make my mark on the world. I’ve got dreams too big for this town…
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