I worked with a nonprofit for about three years. It was a hard job but paid well and I had flexible hours. I was comfortable… to an extent. After a while, I started to get a little anxious about what my next move would be. I was very interested in policy and advocacy work and it seemed like law school would be the best option. I was encouraged by everyone around me to just try it, so I got an extra job to purchase an LSAT class and went head first into the experience.
When it came time to apply to schools, I only applied to schools outside of my home state of Georgia. If I got in, I would be moving far away from home. I honestly wasn’t sure I would get in. I hesitantly told people I was thinking about it but really kept the dream tucked inside my heart. I was a little scared of my own dreams. It seemed too massive, too big for me. And then the acceptance letters started rolling in one after the other. And then scholarship money followed in amounts that made no sense. I was literally experiencing the blessing of God. The door had been opened wide for me. It was amazing. Until I realized I had to go and actually do it.
That May, I chose a school in Chicago, Illinois which is only an hour and a half flight away from Atlanta but still, quite far mileage wise. I had the perfect plan. I would move back home for a month or two when my lease was up at the end of May, save some money, and spend as much time with friends and family as possible.
But as life would have it, my job asked me if I could leave earlier than July so they could fill my position… two months early. I panicked. I was planning on saving all summer long. I was planning on manicure dates with my mom and road trips with my dad. I was going to hike with my best friend and eat ridiculous amounts of sushi while we watched TV. I was going to soak up every last bit of Atlanta before saying goodbye. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to leave yet. I was going to go but when I was ready, on my own time and I was terrified.
I had two choices: stay home and maybe find a part time gig or go straight to Chicago and start the summer program my law school offered that would put me one class ahead. It was all happening so fast. Moving in 12 days seemed insane but it did make the most sense. That move would give me the whole summer to get acquainted with my new city, get used to the style of law school, make friends and do all of this without the insane pressure that the first semester always brings.
So I did it. I packed up my apartment. I found a new one. I shipped all my stuff. I moved in on a Sunday and started classes on a Tuesday. I had never been so scared in my life. I hugged my friend’s goodbye at a quickly thrown together birthday dinner and wept as I walked out of my very first grown up apartment. I didn’t get why God would allow this to happen. I needed more time, more moments, one more Georgia summer and honestly, I needed more money. But I did it. I did it afraid. My knees were shaking on the first day of classes but I showed up. I got lost going to the grocery store, but I found it. I awkwardly tried to make friends with strangers and failed. I put one foot in front of the other and figured it out.
It has been two years since I up and left home and I have grown in ways I never imagined by being out of my comfort zone. I get homesick a lot. School is really hard. And the weather is worse than they say it is in the winter. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I didn’t let fear hold me back. In retrospect, I see God’s fingerprints all over the dream even though at the time I felt like I was going to fall apart. But a maturity and strength that I never knew existed came bubbling out of me. And through this, I now know I can laugh at the times to come.
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