I never expected to fall in love. I never expected to feel as at home here as I do. When I applied, to be completely honest, I didn’t even know you were in Louisiana.
Then I moved out here, on what seemed like a whim, and my world changed. I found a school full of vibrant, crazy people, and for the first time I fit in. I feel completely comfortable here, so at home four hundred miles from my home. I began to love a school and a place more than I ever imagined possible and in a way I wasn’t expecting.
You gave me a place to grow as a person. I’ve become more open-minded as a person. I’ve become more responsible. I’ve grown up and I’ve grown closer to God. There’s no doubt in my mind that I ended up in Baton Rouge for a reason, that God wanted me to be here. But now I have to leave.
For months now I prayed for a sign about if I was supposed to stay here or go back home. A sign so obvious that even I couldn’t miss it. And Friday when I finally got it, I got mad. My sign has pointed me back home, in the exact opposite place of my dream. God’s dream for me doesn’t include me in Baton Rouge anymore, it includes me back in Macon. And now I’m sacrificing my dream to follow God’s dream for me. I know this dream will be better, and that there’s a reason I’m supposed to move home. I know He’s gonna use this to do great things for me or for other people. But it hurts right now. I’ve cried, I’ve had panic attacks, I’ve prayed, I’ve screamed.
I’m not just leaving LSU, though. It also means that I’m gonna move nine hours away from my forever friends after only getting to spend a few months with them. I’m going to move nine hours away from my sweet church family, the people that have surrounded me and accepted me and pushed me to grow closer to Jesus. The people that saw so much in me they put me on a leadership team. The people that made me so confident in my relationship with God that I’m getting baptized in two weeks.
It means when August rolls around, I won’t move in to my dorm room with one of my best friends. When September rolls around, I won’t be tailgating and spending Saturday in Death Valley. When October rolls around, I won’t be crying because of my 7:30 thermodynamics midterm. When November rolls around, I won’t make the trek back home to spend three short days with my family for Thanksgiving. When December rolls around, I won’t put a tiny Christmas tree up on my desk. In January I won’t come back for another semester, in February I won’t listen to the couples planning to go to Memorial Tower for tradition, in March I won’t die over midterms again, in April I won’t find internships in Louisiana, and in May I won’t get to say I’m half of an LSU engineer.
When graduation comes in three short years, I won’t take pictures with my best friend in matching outfits. I won’t take pictures with the giant Tiger Stadium sign behind me. I won’t take pictures in that coveted purple cap and gown.
And who knows? Maybe our paths will cross again one day. Maybe I’ll decide I need graduate school and I’ll come back for that. Maybe my kids will come here. Or maybe I’ll just have to accept that I’ll be a Tiger football fan for life and nothing more. Only God knows what’s in store for my future.
I’m trying not to cry because my dream is ending and my time here is winding down. I’m trying to stay positive because what’s coming has to be better for me. I’m trying to be happy about following God’s new path for my life. One day I won’t have to try, but for now I’ll just smile and eat donuts when I feel like crying. I’ll study for my finals, and when I drive off my last Sunday, I’ll smile and probably blast some music so I don’t cry while I see campus in my rear-view mirror.
So thanks, LSU, for all the great memories and learning opportunities. Thanks to all of the people who supported me, and thanks to all the people who made my freshman year here truly unforgettable. My heart will forever bleed purple and gold, even if I won’t be wearing it.