Oftentimes in the trenches of parenthood, you find yourself wondering if you’re doing anything right. Then there are the moments when your child takes their first steps–or walks across the stage to receive their diploma–and you’ll know you did a dang good job. Watching your child grow (and head to college) is joyous and heartbreaking all at once, and it can be hard letting go. 

Austin Moms is proud to give Guest Blogger Aleah Ragan the floor to share “3 Things I Want my Family to Know Before I go to College.” The future is BRIGHT with young voices like Aleah leading the next generation. 

“3 Things I Want my Family to Know Before I go to College” 

To my family, who has always believed in me 

A few weeks ago, I clicked the button labeled “I accept my admission.” A few months from now, I’ll be moving to Claremont, California for college. This next chapter leaves me uncertain of so much. Still, I am sure of 3 things. 

  1. My Curiosity Drives Me 

During school, my fervent curiosity kept my hand raised steadily. My questions stretched as far as my vision, as I was eager to understand the world. What color does red and blue make? How do you spell ‘hypothesis’? Now as a humanities major, my questions take a more existential focus: when does your life really begin? Over time, my curiosity transformed into an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. A hungry caterpillar morphing into an illuminative butterfly. My desire to learn is what drives my education. College is only a medium, a way for me to journey from one experience to the next. Here is where genuine learning occurs; the experience is the education. Expanding my network, my empathy will grow. Honing my writing skills, my communication will evolve. Indulging my curiosity, I will build a future devoid of longing. Perhaps then is when my life will really begin. 

  1. I’m Becoming an Adult 

On the 22nd of January, I had my 18th birthday. Ever since, I gleam when asked about my age. It feels more mature, saying I’m a legal adult. But to say you’re an adult is one thing. To be an adult is another. In the hopeful eyes of a child, an adult oozes perfection. But I do not. Sometimes, I still forget to brush my teeth. Sometimes, I forget important events. Sometimes, I make the same mistakes twice. With so many “sometimes,” it can’t help but feel like my imperfections constitute a “lifetime.” No longer a child, not yet an adult, there have been so many qualms. So many doubts. Still, this in-between stage demands significant growth. Lingering in between right and wrong, I have only myself to depend on. Myself—composed of my own sets of morals and customs, all of which are inherited from my successes. And my failures. Perhaps becoming an adult isn’t about having the right answers, but the right lessons. It’s living out those teachings, ruminating their imperfections, and molding them into something even better. Maybe this stage of growth is the real goal, and perfection is the far-fetched hope. If this is the case, then I am becoming an adult. Even more than I can say. 

  1. I Won’t Have A Change of Heart 

I’ve spent countless days watching the anime series Naruto with my dad and sister. Our dad often pauses the show and tells us, “I hope you’re really listening.” I watch intently as the punching and kicking dies out. Next, they trade words. Naruto is an allegory. Beneath the sharp animation, philosophy is at its core. As I continue watching, I can’t discern a hero or a villain. What even makes a villain? I’m a sponge, soaking up these provocative questions. Their worldly debate brings me back to real world events. War begets war. More than entertainment, this show has taught me that perhaps we are all a combination of heroes and villains. Maybe that’s what it is to be human. Throughout high school, my ways of thinking have profoundly changed. But thanks to moments like these, my way of heart will not. 

At the beginning of the year, I had had enough. Enough of those tedious homework assignments eroding my sense of calm. Enough of being spread thin. Now, I yearn for more. More time to fight with friends. More time to laugh with family. More time to be a kid. Yet, the true joy of my childhood didn’t stem from simply being a kid. It stemmed from being present. Breathing in each moment, and exhaling the last. Writing has always been my preferred means of achieving this. Heading into adulthood, I will continue to let the ink of my pen articulate the melodies of my soul.

My name is Aleah Ragan, and I recently graduated from Liberal Arts and Science Academy. Writing has always been my vehement passion, especially when it comes to crafting allegories and poetry that delve into profound themes with a creative tinge. This fall, I’m excited to continue my journey with words at Pomona College! I look forward to refining my skills, exploring new literary landscapes, and continuing to tell stories that resonate deeply with readers.

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