Well, this is it. The end. Of my college career anyway…
I have to tell you, it just hit me. See, I just went to the bookstore and bought the graduation pack - the cap, gown and tassel? Anyway, I was walking out the door, and it hit me.
I’m graduating … I’m graduating … I’m graduating!
Memories have been playing through my mind like an old slide projector reel. Mostly the stupid things I did and partook of my freshmen year.
Like the time my roommate convinced me that we should follow the City of Martin truck around campus as they let the pressure out of the hydrants and play in the water.
And the time that my suitemate called me from a certain fraternity house at 4 a.m. saying that she couldn’t get out of one of the rooms.
I got up, went to get her, and, after a long search, a confusing story-time and a big fight, was asked to leave the premises and never return. The details aren’t necessary; but let’s just say that I have been back, and low and behold I married one of the fraternity brothers. Funny how those things work out…hehe!
Yep, after five years, three majors, a few boyfriends, two deaths in my immediate family, several failed classes, finding, dating and marrying my wonderful husband, three on-campus jobs (two at once, one for four years) and blessing my husband’s choice to accept a job in Nashville last November - I’m leaving Martin.
I know, I know. That thought probably brings joy and smiles to more than a few faces out there.
But the difference between your opinion of Martin and mine is that I grew up here.
For me, this isn’t just a boring college town; it’s my hometown.
I was born just a hop, skip and jump away in Union City, went to primary, elementary, junior high and high school here in Martin, then college.
My dad, Dr. Larry Ingram, was a sociology professor here for over 30 years before he died July 31, 2001.
And now, I’m leaving it all behind for the first time in my life.
Not only that - I’m leaving my mom, grandmom, brother, sister-in-law, nephew and niece.
To be fair, it’s not as though I won’t return, but you know what? Between you and me, I’m kind of scared.
My husband and I just bought a place in Smyrna. So what if my sister and her husband are just 30 minutes away. So what if it’s only three hours away from here…so what?
Now, I have to move a loveable Siberian Husky and a sweetly psychotic cat (our kids), find a job, find a church, find a Mexican restaurant, make new friends and make Smyrna my home.
That’s a lot to ask from a small-town girl who’s never really had to do any of that before. And like I said before, it’s not just the town that I’m leaving behind - it’s the places, faces and memories they hold.
Room 100 in the sociology building was my favorite podium as a toddler to tell stories to my invisible friends. Virginia Weldon Library was the place of many childhood field trips. Friday nights at my grandmother’s in Union City I’d eat meals at PVs Hut.
Those are just a few memories to leave you with. Think about the memories you have and will hold forever.
Maybe you’re in the same position I am - leaving home to go out into the real world. Maybe you’re not. But maybe you’re just denying the inevitable.
You all know the old saying, “Home is where the heart is.”
My heart will always be here where my family is, my house, my daddy’s grave, my memories … everything.
You know what? I don’t think I’m afraid anymore…
Marsha Stephenson is a graduating senior English major from Martin. Marsha was this year’s Copy Editor for the Pacer.