www.whyville.net Mar 13, 2011 Weekly Issue

Times Writer


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Here I am, sitting in my room, wearing my Steelers sweatshirt and jeans, surrounded by political science notebooks, biology lab reviews and old math tests. My eyes hurt and I have a headache, and here I sit, drowning in papers, highlighters, pens and textbooks. I decided I needed a break. I open my Yahoo e-mail and my school e-mail all at once and sit down to read the seven e-mails from my English professor and one from my mom. I scroll down the page and notice a folder on my Yahoo e-mail. "Times Articles" I laughed that I still had that folder in my e-mail, but opened it regardless.

I started reading a few of them, and one in particular caught my attention, and for several reasons. For one, it was written by myself as a sophomore in high school, freaking out about how I was going to miss the town I grew up in when I moved to go to school. But the even bigger coincidence was the date I wrote and submitted it. I e-mailed it to the Editor on March 6, 2008, exactly three years ago to the date. I clicked the link to open the e-mail and read it through, and it brought me back to who I was in high school, and how much I've changed.

Since then, I joined the colorguard at my school, and was a critical part of a nationally recognized marching band. I traveled with that band to St. Louis, Missouri, Indianapolis, Indiana and Dayton, Ohio. I've performed in the very same fields and arenas that the St. Louis Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and University of Dayton plays. I broke two of my fingers. I've sprained my ankle five times and twisted my wrists more times that I can count on my fingers and toes. I've changed jobs three times. Someone finally believed me when I said I couldn't see the board in school at all. As a result, I got glasses. I found out who my real friends are. I graduated on May 29, 2010, in a barn. I applied to only one college and got accepted. I moved two hours away from my hometown, where I knew no one but my dad.

I've become my own person.

I've made mistakes. I've been hurt, physically and emotionally. I've experienced some of the most frustrating losses in my life. But, I've also made corrections. I've been fixed, whether it took yet another ankle brace or an apology. And I've experienced thrilling wins. I have matured into someone my fifteen year-old self would not even recognize.

As I take another look at that article, I remember how terrified I was to leave my hometown. I was afraid that everything would change when I left, and I would be stuck in some stupid town hours away, where I knew no one and nothing.

I moved two hours away, and because of that and rising gas prices, I can't afford to come home every weekend, as much as I would like to. I used to hate this town. I felt like I took a step down. My hometown is forty-five minutes from Atlanta. We were so close that going down there to go to the mall was no big deal, and the Fox Theater is where my high school held our prom. And now I'm sitting in north Georgia, where there is literally nothing but two Walmarts and probably every fast food restaurant you could image. In order to get to the mall or a Target, you have to drive to Chattanooga, Tennessee. It truly is a step down.

I feel like it was for the best that I moved two hours away, though. It taught me to slow down and appreciate what I had. Compared to north Atlanta, the people here are a "lower class". They can't afford to go out every night and just buy things whenever, like I was used to doing. The number of students at my school is smaller than the number of students at my high school, and the people here think that's a huge number. For the people who grew up here and had to live in this for their entire life, they know nothing different. I had to change. For the first few weeks I was here, I tried to go out every night with a few friends like I was used to. Eventually, they told me they had to slow down; they weren't used to doing this, and they were starting to run out of money and they didn't understand how I was so able to do this.

This summer will be my last semester in north Georgia. This morning, I filled out transfer applications to schools in Tennessee, three and four hours away from where I am now, and I filled out some in Atlanta, thirty and forty-five minutes from my hometown. Money will be the ultimate deciding factor, but should I end up going back home, I know I'll be extremely happy to start picking up the pace again. I'll be back with my friends who ended up staying in north Atlanta to go to school, and back with my beloved Target and QuikTrip.

I'll miss it here, too, but not as much as I miss my hometown now.

- Kaila


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