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Small handwriting sample of Brooke's First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
Brooke holds her red guitar




Brooke's stuffed monkey, Larry




Detail of neck and strings on Brooke's red guitar

“Nobody said it was easy…
No one ever said it would be this hard.”

—Coldplay, “The Scientist”

15 September 2003

I didn’t really want to go to college. I wasn’t excited about it. I apologize to every adult who asked me over the past few months if I was looking forward to it…because I lied…I wasn’t. I never did look forward to it even though everyone else I know was just dying to go. I went to college because that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? You’re supposed to go through high school, make the grades, be on the student council, and apply to billions of colleges. And then you wait nervously to find out which ones accepted you and which ones you just weren’t good enough for. Well I did the whole high school thing, and I loved high school. I loved it so much that I didn’t want it to ever end. But when it came to the whole college thing I just didn’t care. So I only sent in one application, to one college. This one. And so that’s why I’m here. Six hours away from my two favorite girls. Seven hours away from my two favorite boys.

And so why out of state? Everyone asks me that question. Why did you leave all of your friends? Why did you leave everything that you knew? The answer, to be honest, is really quite a shame. I went out of state because I’m arrogant. Smart kids go out of state, right? And in high school I was a smart kid. So I had to go out of state. No offense, my in-state friends…I have since seen the error of my ways. But once upon a time I was not so wise as I am today, and I thought I HAD to go out of state. It’s what I always said I’d do. It’s what everyone expected me to do. So I did it.

And now, after letting you know how I felt at the onset of this whole college experience I’ll do my best to brief you on my first few weeks here. It’s crazy how much one’s perspective can change in such a short time.

The day I left my friends in my driveway was the second worse day of my life. The worst day being the day before when a certain LSU friend left me in his driveway. So we drove up here in my mother’s Suburban…because my way cool parents think college kids don’t need cars on campus. My entire 18 years of existence fit in the back seat. You think you would acquire more stuff than that in 18 years. So we get here and I move my stuff in and I spend my first night in an empty dorm room. Roommate wouldn’t be up for another five days. So there I was, in this foreign room, in a foreign city, in an eerily empty building, sitting on an uncomfortable dorm bed fighting back tears as I called every single one of my friends.

And the next night was much the same. I hated it here. All of my friends from home were having so much fun together. And I was sitting here—alone. And the fear set in. The fear that they were all going to forget me. All those people that I spent all those years getting to know and getting to love…they were going to continue to grow closer…and there would be no need to remember me. It’s a terrible thing to be forgotten.

My third day here was the first day of Rush…which I went through in an attempt to meet some people before school started. Now, I don’t know what your idea of fun is, but unless you enjoy walking around in the Texas heat from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., the first day was so not fun. And personally, I’m a tomboy. I’ve always gotten along better with boys. I’ve always hung out with boys. Other than a very select few, I really don’t even like girls. But making friends here was a necessary evil. I knew no one. So on the second day I started to talk to girls whom I had seen the day before. They told me stories about where they were from, whom they had left behind, why they had chosen to leave and why they regretted it now. I wasn’t alone. And that helped. The next day was even better, and so on and so forth until the very end of the whole Recruitment week when I joined the Alpha Chi Omega sorority here at UT. Roommate came up in the midst of that, and she’s one of the coolest people I know. We were hardly acquaintances when this whole living together thing began, and now we’re becoming pretty decent friends. It’s a cool experience. I would highly suggest living with someone whom you don’t know like the back of your hand. It makes life far more interesting.

[To my audience at large: Throughout my journals ‘Roommate’ is used as a proper noun…the replacement for my most excellent living companion’s actual name…thus, for the sake of grammatical accuracy the word ‘Roommate’ shall be heretoforth capitalized.]

But I still called home at least 20 times a day. (And by home I mean my friends AND my family…now I like my family and all, but I’m not one to call them every day when I’m not with them…but I did…sometimes more than once a day.) I never walked anywhere without my cell phone attached to my ear. And then classes started. Everyone always said that college would be easier than high school. And it is. The hard part is making yourself get up and go. No one is taking attendance. No one is calling home if you don’t show up. It’s so tempting just to stay in bed. I did. I skipped Spanish the fourth day of class. I figured it was no big deal…I just wouldn’t turn in the homework due that day. How much could it be worth, ya know? But at the next class everyone turned in more homework…homework I didn’t know about because I hadn’t been there when it was assigned. That’s not a good way to start off your academic career.

Anyway, classes started, sorority stuff started, Roommate was here, and you know what happened? I found myself walking to class two and three times a day, and not needing to call someone from home. Roommate came with me to get my nose pierced. That was way cool. I mean, not the whole process of getting an extra hole added to your face…that part was rather uncool. But it was a very cool thing to do something that brave…something so unlike me. It was something that people didn’t expect. And I think that’s got to be a sign of personal growth, right? Doing something you want to do rather than because your friends and family and teachers and coaches and moderators expect you to. And it’s so cute! Man, I love it. I’m really glad I did it. But I haven’t told my parents yet…so keep it on the DL. And now I’ve been here an entire month. It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. Perhaps the eternity between now and Thanksgiving holiday really isn’t an eternity. Perhaps this will all go by faster than high school did. Roommate and I have been to a couple of parties. We’ve met a few people. And now it seems like this is going to be an okay place to reside. Austin City Limits promises to be an amazingly sweet experience, and Roommate and I have three-day passes…way cool. So this might end up being the greatest four years of my life like everyone assured me it would be. I still have my doubts about that, but I’m a little bit more open to the idea.

And as for all of those friends who I was sure were going to forget all about me, they keep calling me…every day. In a way I’m becoming closer to many of them than I ever was before. (right, Nicholas?) I’m doing something different, something they’re not doing, and they’re interested in seeing how it all turns out. And maybe, just maybe, they miss me, too.

Questions, comments, compliments or complaints can be sent to shortie1bc@yahoo.com. If you put WEB JOURNAL as the topic there’s a far greater chance that I won’t mistake your message for junk mail and delete it without reading it. Thanks.

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