Changing Perspectives: The Adventures of Out of State Schooling

Rachel Hart is currently a senior at the University of North Texas. She is majoring in Merchandising with a minor in Business, and currently conducting research on subcultural fashion and dress. Rachel hopes to continue her education into graduate school to continue her subcultural research.

The Adventures of Out of State Schooling

The summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I traveled to Boston to attend a wedding. My parents were beginning to pressure me to think about college and what I would like to do. At the time, my interest was in fashion. I scoured international fashion magazines and glossy books, determined to learn about everything from the history of Dior to modern street style. However, I would shudder when relatives, teachers, and friends (who seemed to have it all together), would ask me my plans. I knew what I liked, but I didn’t have a clue how I would translate those interests into a college path that I was able to articulate clearly to those who inquired.

The wedding I attended happened to be down the road from Lasell College, the school that the bride and groom (who were both insanely successful post-grad), attended. One day we had some down time, and I decided to tour the campus. It was a rainy day in the suburb of Newton, and our tour guide took us through dorms inside of gorgeously constructed Victorian homes, touted the life on campus and ways to get involved, and was informative about the fashion programs that were offered. I immediately fell in love. This was something different, and I felt absolutely ecstatic the next few days of the trip that applying was all I could think about. My parents were receptive, and encouraged me to apply to Lasell, as well as other schools closer to home. I was so excited that I applied the first day applications for Fall 2010 opened up.

When I received my acceptance on Christmas Eve in 2009, I couldn’t have been happier. I felt as if I was getting the opportunity to start a new life. High school was never important to me, and my friends felt temporary. I had no boyfriend, and my family encouraged being adventurous. It seemed as if I had it all. And for the year I was there, I did.

I met my roommate on a ‘Lasell College Class of 2014’ Facebook page. We talked about television shows and the food we liked. She was from Massachusetts and was very inquisitive about my Texan roots. We both noted that we were shy, a bit introverted, and experienced a good amount of social anxiety. It was a good fit. The first time we would meet was at orientation. I was immediately type-casted as ‘the girl from Texas’, as most of my Freshman class of roughly 400 students were from the Northeastern region.

Upon moving in, I realized what was actually happening and my nerves kicked in. I sat on the floor eating cookies and sobbing as I realized I wasn’t home anymore. This feeling quickly dissipated as activities began to mount and I didn’t have time to think about not being home. My roommate and I got over the awkward phase quickly: our air conditioning was broken so we froze towels and applied Vixx vapor robs to our arms and legs to cool down. Our group of friends literally came together by saying, “Hi, you seem nice. Would you like to be friends?” Some things that would seem so awkward in high school became the norm for us, things like getting two or three extra servings of ice cream during lunch, going for a 4 a.m. run just ‘because’, waking up your roommate to complain about everything and listening to Bob Dylan until it’s time for your 8 o’clock Ethics seminar. These things, interacting with a whole new group of people, built me up.

Of course, I was in Boston and wanted to take a considerable amount of adventures for myself. To pay for subway tickets, I would sell most of my clothes to Buffalo Exchange. I used the money to roam the streets of every part of Boston: I wanted no corner to be unseen. Days on the train, listening to my iPod and getting off random stops for fun and exploring became my hobby. I would go to the Boston Public Library and people watch for hours. I once got caught in the rain in Allston, got lost on my way to the T, and hung out in a tattoo shop until the weather cleared out.

Every Wednesday I would go to poetry slams in Cambridge and cheer and cry as my friend poured her heart out on the stage with her poem ‘Buffalo Coin’. We would get smashed on subway cars as Bruins fans took over the tracks and enjoyed post-game celebrations.

Early on in my second semester, I decided it was time to head home. My dad had gotten laid off, and I needed to be home to support my family. I would transfer to a local public school and finish out my degree there.

Now I’m in my last semester of college, and that freshman year at Lasell still feels raw and new to me. Things like walking through the commons post-snowstorm at 2 a.m. and seeing the way my friends face illuminated when she slid down a 10 foot mound of snow, or the way I felt absolute bliss as I zoomed through Newton on the green line, getting back to the Riverside stop after a ten hour day of exploring, prove invaluable to me.

My story is one of many narratives that provide a shift in lifestyle that goes above and beyond what you could imagine. I would not be the person I am today without the spark for life I had then and now, and a spark I hope incoming freshman consider holding onto and riding into new territory and infinite, amazing experiences with. Moving forward after high school doesn’t have to mean having to settle: it can mean amazement if you try hard enough.


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