Today, I would consider myself somewhat of the adventurous type.  But as a freshly graduated high school student, I was pretty shy and wet behind the ears as my grandparents would say.  I was also SUPER attached to my family and so to head right off to photography school which was a WHOLE four hours away, I wasn’t sure I was ready.  And if you don’t remember from PART ONE of my story, I wasn’t what you would call prepared for anything artistic in my life.  Therefore, I decided to try this college thing a little closer to home and get a little artistic background in the form of graphic design.  So I packed up my powder blue Plymouth Acclaim and headed the six miles down the road and moved into Dordt College.  Over the summer I had been working in their Print Shop department and was able to get a little experience under my belt when it came to graphic design.  Oh and don’t worry, it wasn’t all seriousness in that office, we had our share of fun, including chair races down the halls of the classroom building.  If I remember right I am the reigning champion to this day!

Even though I was just six miles from home, my world was really changing and I was ON MY OWN!  My freshman year was one of those years that was so good and yet so hard all at the same time.  It was the best to go through a week and then to be able to sit at my mom’s kitchen table on the weekends, processing life while my laundry turned in the washer and dryer.  After two big semesters, I made it.  My summer days were filled with long hours at the print shop again along with a few other part time jobs.  In my spare time, I spent time hanging out my family.  My brother had this fun group of friends who would seem to end up at our place every Sunday night.  That’s where I met this short little blonde haired friend of his who was previously attending Dordt but knew it wasn’t the right fit for her.  She had discovered the same photography school I was looking at and before I knew it, she was enrolled in class and was planning to attend the following fall.  One particular Sunday night she was busy talking about moving in and that there was no one to help her.  My hand went up as I volunteered to ride down with her and check this school out because I was currently on the waiting list to be enrolled with hopes of starting after my second year at Dordt.

Days later she pulled up in my driveway in her blue Saturn and away we went!  Four hours later, we pulled up to College Square Apartments in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Hours later, with legs burning from climbing up and down the stairs to her second story apartment, her car was empty and off we were to Hawkeye Community College.  To be honest, it was kind of a love at first sight moment.  Even though Hawkeye’s Professional Photography Program is one of the top programs in the Midwest, at first glance it looked a lot like any other school with its hallways lined with lockers and closed doors.  But behind some of those closed doors, was where all the magic lied.  Those doors opened the way to its photo studios, equipment libraries, darkrooms and processing rooms.  After being there only a few moments, it already felt like home!  We finished out the weekend with some shopping for photography equipment and checking out the local church on Sunday!  It was Ah-mazing!

The weekend came to an end, and I wasn’t feeling like I wanted to leave!  The whole way home my mind was spinning.  Should I stay or should I go?  The next few days were full of pros and cons lists and long conversations with my parents.  We decided in the end it was best for me to stay at least one more semester at Dordt, because after all I was still on the waiting list for photography school.  So if I did move, I couldn’t take any of the photography classes I was waiting for.  So I packed up the Plymouth Acclaim again and made the six mile drive and took one more semester at Dordt.  But when that Christmas break rolled around, I couldn’t wait any longer.  I needed to get closer to that school, closer to that dream, whatever that meant.  I had upgraded my car to a new but previously loved Chevy Lumina.  We packed her up and headed down Highway 3, with a heart full of so much excitement I almost forgot how scared I was.

To be continued…