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Durham in Neverland

I’m a grown up in almost every way but one: When I leave Durham in a month, it may be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But I won’t know until June. I’ve never left home before.

That isn’t to say I’ve never lived away from mom’s place, my “sick apartment” isn’t secretly my old room at home. I’ve lived on campus, in 301 Flowers, at the Belmont and even in New York City for a summer. I’ve upgraded to a big-girl bed and a five-foot-tall teddy bear (you think I’m joking). But this summer, I’ll move to New York City for real, and to be honest, I’m pretty much terrified.

I don’t want to grow up, and it’s embarrassing that my Peter Pan moment should come now, about four years after most of my peers left home. I made the move to strike out on my own once. I tried really hard to get away in high school when I decided that being born in Boston basically made me a Northerner, and the South just wasn’t for me. So I applied to eight schools out of state, and I ended up at Duke.

Trapped.

But now I’m clawing to hold onto my roots. Durham is great—what was I thinking? I love the food and the beer and the people, and I recommend exploring beyond Main Street. But then, that’s just the problem: I’ve spent more than 90 percent of my life here, and it’s easy to take a place for granted. And now that I’m leaving, the biggest gift Durham gave me, one that I never noticed, is staring me in the face—control. For the last four years, Durham has lent me a competitive advantage. When friends want to go places, I can give directions. When I need a quiet place to study, I know the best coffee shops. It’s been awesome. And safe.

Change can really take a toll on that feeling of authority I’ve enjoyed for so long. Every major change so far has been cushioned just a little bit because I’m still in a familiar place, and my old life isn’t very far away when I need it. This was a huge comfort when I took on my biggest challenge—becoming editor of The Chronicle’s 106th volume. An awesome and overwhelming experience that changed my life, made just a little easier because now and then I could go home, hug my mom and pretend I wasn’t growing up.

But New York is about as different from Durham as you can get. Here, strangers call me “sweetie” and give me home-brewed beer samples while they cut my hair. The city is tall and loud and I don’t really know my way around. I hate feeling lost, but that’s what I’m going to be. Away from my mom, most of my friends and my hometown, I’ll have to follow my dreams alone for a little bit—without my training wheels.

Having a visceral, panicked reaction to moving to New York and pursuing my dream of becoming the lady-superman of journalism is incredibly disappointing. It’s taught me that life is decidedly unlike a box of chocolates, which is, no matter what, still chocolate. It’s like picking a direction at random when getting off the subway and trying to walk confidently down the block while desperately checking Google Maps and street signs for something familiar. I’ll have to step out into the street and fake it until I make it.

I don’t like admitting this to you all, but it’s true. I’m a mommy’s girl, a Durhamite, a life-long Dukie; and I’m starting to worry there is a real possibility I might not be able to have that “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”-esque experience I’ve always dreamed about. It should be so easy, shouldn’t it? Moving to a new, glamorous place and building a new, glamorous life. But that takes maturity, and it’s the one kind of growing up I haven’t gotten around to yet.

It’s time to learn more about the part of me that is bigger than Durham, and there are parts of that education I can’t control anymore. It’s OK to be afraid to take the post-college plunge into a fast-paced concrete jungle where there may not be a safety net to fall into. I only have one thing left for me to say to Durham.

Goodbye.

Lindsey Rupp is a Trinity senior. She is the social media editor and the former editor and university editor of The Chronicle. She thanks the staffs of volumes 104-107 for their hard work and support. She thanks her mom and her friends, especially Meredith, Joline and Taylor, for making these last four years so wonderful.

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