The White Room

Nobody quite prepares you for the day you leave your whole life, to move into a tiny room, only to be surrounded by thousands of strangers every day.

That day came for me, and I had never felt more unprepared in my lifetime. I woke up that morning with automatic tears in my eyes, and the urge to pull my sheets over my head and bury myself there. I forced myself out of bed, to get ready for the day. It was an odd feeling to know that this was the last time I would be doing all of these normal routines in my childhood home. I drove to our favorite restaurant to share one last meal with my hometown friends before parting ways. Eden showed up with her car packed. She was leaving for the airport directly after breakfast. Audrey looked rather emotional; I could tell she cried on her way. She had tear stains on her lilac tank top. Caroline always has it together, not today. Her blonde hair looked messy; she had tears running down her face. Leaving the parking lot that day after breakfast was one of the toughest moments. My hometown friends are truly my best friends. I thought to myself how hard it would be to find people to even slightly fill their shoes.

My parents helped me pack my life away into two cars. Both wearing their Stephens apparel, did not help my spirits much. My father wore a matching Nike outfit, which is nothing out of the ordinary. My mom looked particularly polished. I was not sure if she was hiding her emotions. I swept my bedroom for one last check, shut my door, and said goodbye to my childhood room. I pulled off from my driveway, with my parents directly behind and once again felt the tears sliding down my face like ice cream melting. Just like that, my childhood was officially over. An hour and half drive seemed to feel like a day’s worth of driving when I felt like this. Soon, after I checked in, and thought my day could not get much worse, it did. I got my room assignment changed two times. I felt as if my arms were Jello after carrying that many bags to three different rooms. 

Finally I had gotten my official room assignment, I walked in to see my suitemate unpacking. I thought to myself, “this is who I am going to be living with?” Not in a necessarily bad way, rather in a “Oh my god she is a stranger” way. She looked rather pale, and lean. One hour turned into two, two turned into three, and soon enough the sun was setting. My parents and I decided to take a break from packing and went to dinner. I did not have much of an appetite, but my parents joked with me, insisting I eat, considering from here on out it would be dining hall food. I managed to get my food down, and back to my dorm we went. To our surprise it was raining when we walked out of the restaurant; I like to think it symbolized the feelings I had as my parents leaving me was nearing. The whole day my parents were doing everything they could to cheer me up; nobody wants to leave their daughter at college crying. Leaving home for me was harder than it is for others I assumed, and just when I thought the day could only get better from here, I was terribly mistaken. When I arrived back to my room, the power was out. This meant no lights and most importantly no air conditioning in the room which felt like a sauna, considering the temperature outside was ninety degrees that day. We all assumed the storm was the cause of this. Hours went by and we continued unpacking in the dark, and the warmth. Finally the power came back, and I saw my room finished in the light for the first time. Although it was nothing like my room from home, I felt a sense of home in my room. This was the first time I thought it all might just turn out okay.

The time came for my parents to leave; this was a sense of pain I had never felt before. I did not realize how hard this would hit me until it did. Trying to keep a brave face, I hugged both of my parents and told them how much I loved them. Soon after they left and could not see me anymore; I cried harder than I ever had. They had not even been gone ten minutes and I received a call from them;  this is when I knew our love was strong. I stayed up tossing and turning all night, unable to grasp the new place I had to call home. It was a small, tiny, white room. I had already planned a day to go back home and visit. 

In the end moving away from home was definitely not easy. Here I am five months later, and I can confidently say I am still adjusting. There are times I want my parents’ hugs, to crack a joke with my brothers, and hugs from my hometown friends, but for now a phone call will do. I may make moving away seem cruel and brutal, and I will be honest, it is. But along with new beginnings, come new adventures. I would be lying if I said I haven’t made memories and friends here. I love the volleyball team and the education I am receiving, so just when you think it’s all going wrong, just blink and you will be a second- semester freshman with three and a half more wonderful years ahead of you. 

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Rylee Collins

Hello, I am Rylee and I am a Fashion Marketing and Management major here at Stephens College. I enjoy playing volleyball and painting in my free time. I hope you guys enjoy some of my writing pieces.

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