Pondering packing list for college

When you all read this, I will be on the verge of waltzing, pending cooperation from my heels and spotty coordination, across Dickinson Field for the last time. A freshly retired Red Devil. And, as with every milestone, I find myself increasingly fixated on the future. I have even started pondering what I will pack for college this fall and what perhaps, I will be leaving behind.

1. An Illinois sweatshirt. This will not garner any popularity among my new classmates, but every time I put it on I will be right back on the couch with my dad cheering for our fighting Illini, wishfully thinking they would make it past the second round of March Madness.

2. A coffee machine to keep me awake (alive?).

3. Words of advice from my brothers, urging me to have faith in myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. I hope to pack this for college and for the rest of my life as well.

4. Laundry baskets and laundry detergent are a must. Learning how to use them is a challenge yet to be conquered.

5. Some things I won't be able to bring with me are my best friends, my dogs and this wonderful

community that I grew up in. I can still envision myself playing soccer at Robbins Park, going to school at Madison, and playing in the 3-on-3 basketball tournaments at The Community House. Those moments all seem like yesterday, like I could still grasp them in the distance if I just stretched far enough. The memories are carried in my heart and are the foundation for all of my new experiences.

6. A reading light, for the quiet moments after a day's work where I get lost in other stories to keep calm.

7. An open mind. In college there are many talented, unique, brilliant people, and I cannot wait to expand my horizons.

My fellow graduates and I could make a million lists to remind us what to pack, yet I am sure we would still forget something important. Even so, we already have everything we need. Our families, our schools, our friends, our community, and the lives we have led: it has all built us into the young adults that we are today. We are ready for the next steps and those who have been with us the whole way can find equal comfort in knowing that.

Mom, Dad, I'm talking to you!

- Isabella Terry, who will attend Georgetown University, is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].