The Ending and the Endless

Name: Lauren Pennachio

Year: Class of 2012

Hometown: Dalton, PA

Intended Major: Neuroscience


At 4:03 in the morning, the world seems to have stopped turning. There is Lauren1 no noise, no movement, and the only light is the green flashing of the alarm clock saying 1:46. But its not 1:46, its 4:03 and I am still awake. I am not even under the covers, and my head has barely touched the pillow. Everything in my room seems untouched, unbothered; but thanks to the little green light you can see the depression in my bed that I made from just laying there for some 3 hours now.

It’s been this way for days, maybe even going on weeks. Each night I do the same: I lay myself down around 12:30, and just stare up at the light that I just turned off. And before I know it, its 4:03 and I am still awake. You would think that I would be able to figure some things out in this time frame, that I would occupy those hours with constant thought about this whole college thing … this whole being away from everyone thing … this whole … Oh my god, I have 7 days left and so much to do thing.

But I don’t. I just sit and stare and let those thoughts, those worries, those fears, run their little hearts out through my head. At 4:03 in the morning I am just as ambivalent about the experience as I was when I woke at 10:38.

I never really thought that the college experience would be this emotionally tolling, if you will. I never imagined myself having problems with moving away or being in a new place. Or not knowing anybody. Or not having my best friends a 10 minute drive away.

Lauren2But these past few nights, that’s all that I have thought about. I mean, I know that I am going to a great school, my first choice school really. And I know that I will meet some of the best friends that I will ever have there. That’s great and I am so looking forward to it. But then I realize that nobody is going to be with me, that I will be making all these friends on my own and that I don’t even have a crutch to lean on. I will be alone in T-minus 7 days. And that kinda scares me.

I don’t want you to think that I am unappreciative of the opportunity that Hopkins has given me. I realize what an honor it is to be accepted. I realize that this is one of the best schools in the nation that I can go to and that I will come out of Hopkins more prepared for anything than a lot of people will. It’s not that I am looking down on the experience and it really has nothing to do with Hopkins. It’s just that I have made the best comfort blanket here in Middle-of-Nowhere Suburbia, PA, and now college is pulling it apart thread by thread. And I don’t know if I want a new one!

But I really have no choice. So in 7 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes I will be in a stuff-packed car, wiping tears out of my eyes, and taking the 4 hour 38 minute drive to Baltimore, where my old life will drive away in a much more vacant van and my new life will be barely unpacked. But that’s just a part of this whole college experience thing. The excitement, the worries, the tears and the fears; that’s what makes this all worthwhile. That’s what makes this Lauren3 a life experience.

So here’s to the soon to be ending countdown to college. To the best summer that any of us college freshies ever had. To the families and friends that we will be leaving, to our torn and tattered comfort blanket that was once our lives. To all the great memories we have had and all the new ones to come. To the alma mater we once sang and the new one we’ve yet to learn. Welcome to college kids. It’s gonna be a blast.

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  1. Lauren:
    Great entry, thanks! I can definitely understand your insomnia and always seeing the same time … for me when I am stressed I always see the clock reading 12:34 or 3:47. No idea why! Enjoy your last week at home with friends and family, and enjoy Orientation week.

  2. You’re right, it IS going to be a blast, but when you said no one would be with you, don’t forget that there will be more than 1000 other kids in your same position. (not the whole class, because some will come in knowing kids from high school, but definitely A LOT). so while you might feel alone, so will almost everyone else. it’s a wonderful time to join up and explore together!

  3. It isn’t easy, but things will get so busy so fast that you’ll not have time to worry about anything else. Be of good cheer, and give ’em hell, I know you are more than capable.

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