Michele DeRoche, Contributing Writer
I initially found my first road trip terrifying. Why? As I got on the highway in Chicago that would take me straight to St. Louis, I was driving away from the roads and towns I recognized into the unknown.
In my previous travels, I had always flown. I was too young to remember my first flight, and I flew to boarding school at the age of 14. Flying is a rapid process – planes take one across the country in a few hours, and one can even fly back on the same day if necessary. Unlike the flights I had taken before, my 2013 road trip seemed like a permanent step away from home.
Another way in which a road trip differs from a plane flight is that during a road trip there is much more time for thought. Before leaving for the airport, I would always rush to pack my bags so that I would not miss my flight. In the hustle and bustle of an airport, there is not much time for one to stop and collect one’s thoughts. As the only driver for the first leg of my summer road trip, however, I started thinking about all I had done over the summer: work, vacation, party, hang out with friends and family. The summer had its ups and downs, I determined, but overall I was grateful and ready to begin a new year. This gratitude yielded to nostalgia as I realized I would never relive these experiences. The chapter covering the summer of 2013 was closed.
A new chapter, however, was beginning. I began to realize how much would change with the start of the new school year: friends, group dynamics, dorms and apartments, classes, work. I was moving into the familiar territory of the University of Dallas, but I would meet with many unfamiliar faces – those of the returning Spring Romers (long time, no see!) and the freshmen. The thought sent a thrill of excitement through me. I wondered what adventures this year would bring.
Once I reached St. Louis, a friend joined me. Having someone else there drastically changed my perspective on road trips. I was no longer thinking by myself but with someone else. We talked, laughed, ate and drove hundreds of miles together. We were united in the same goal: to arrive in Dallas as soon as possible.
Life at UD is sometimes like a road trip. Here we study alongside our classmates. At times, it may seem lonely when we don’t allow others into our lives. Time alone is important for thinking, yet sharing that time with others is also very enriching.
As I put on my sunglasses and headed south, I took a few deep breaths to calm down. I was not moving away from home permanently, though I know that day will come. I was returning to the Core, the Cap Bar and the many friendly faces of UD.
Whether you drove or flew to Dallas, you can still reminisce about this summer. How will your experiences influence your way of thinking during this new school year? How will you aid your fellow classmates in the pursuit of knowledge? As much as I will miss my Mom’s cooking and the changing leaves up north, I would not miss cross country or Charity Week for anything. Each year has its own unique feel and memories, so take some time to reflect on your summer and let the “trip” of 2013-2014 begin!