A good friend of mine from high school got married this past weekend. At the reception, I met people I haven’t talked to since high school graduation (and one guy I went to elementary school with). As recent college graduates, we all asked each other the same question.
“What are your plans for next year?”
I told everyone that I’m moving to New York in mid-August to start medical school and that I was very excited. I mean, it’s New York City. It’s on every tourist’s must-see list; it has all these songs written about it; it’s an absolutely unique place to be. No other city has more theaters, publishing houses, and academic institutions, not to mention an amazingly complex subway system that will ferry you hither and thither for just two bucks a ride. I want to be a part of all that. I want to be a New Yorker.
And at the same time, I’m terrified of the City.
I’ve never lived anywhere but a suburb and a college town. What if I can’t stand city life? What if I get mugged? I don’t know anyone in New York; what if I get lonely? What if I can’t handle being so far from home? What if I fail anatomy, or worse still, realize that doctoring isn’t for me? (*mentally adds “hobo” to list of backup plans*)
You know, once I write all those fears down, they seem kind of silly. I’ll be ok. It’s just a little bit frightening to go through all the stuff in my room — the books and papers and clothes and trinkets of 22 years — and decide what I’m taking with me and what stays behind. Except for a week’s vacation at Christmas, I won’t really be coming back here again. I think that’s what scares me the most.
Going off to college was not such a big deal; it was just two hours away and I never really moved out. But towards the end (fourth year, especially), “home” stopped being my parents’ lovely house in suburbia and became my little 11 x 13 room with the high ceiling and the two windows. The one night I spent in New York, at a second look weekend, I became incredibly homesick — for my dorm.
I do insist that I made the right choice. The school where I’ll be matriculating in less than a month (ahhh!) was the only place with which I really fell in love. My future classmates seem chill. It’ll just be … different. As Richard Curtis wrote in The Vicar of Dibley, there’s good change, and there’s bad change. (“There’s the Changing of the Guard … and then there’s prawn-flavored crisps!”)
I think the moral here is when in doubt, watch something written by Richard Curtis. Truly, the man’s a genius.