Growing Up by Teresa

Teresa Lotz

I will never forget my first time behind the wheel of a car.  With my father by my side, I drove once around the block and came to my first stop sign.

I needed to make a left turn.  I brought the car forward to clear my line of sight, and assuming I had the time to make the turn, I began to steer.  From a side road, another car turned out and sped past me, startling me and sending me into a deep state of novice-anxiety.  This first experience and a lack of confidence left me nervous in my travels; but my parents always taught me to believe in myself, even in something as common as driving.

I have lived in Baltimore, Maryland since birth.  Nearly eight hours away, Bowling Green State University was not where I had intended to pursue my undergraduate education; but fate or intelligence brought me here, and that in itself was one of the most significant decisions in my life thus far.  When reflecting upon the past months at Bowling Green, the biggest factor of my maturation is the distance I have between myself and the world I grew to know and understand.

Coming to the Midwest really sent me out of my element, just as my first left hand turn had managed to do.  Before college, I had barely been away from home for more than a week.  The first few months in Ohio were rough, and every day I still miss my family, but the longer I stay, the more it begins to feel like a second home.  I spent a lot of the eight hour drive to the university thinking about my past and my future; but above all, I spent most of the time thinking about my present.  A snapshot: I was packed to move into college; I was driving; I felt a strange sense of inspiration from the road.

I have always been a creative person, a composer and a writer, and I was sure that throwing myself out of my element would spark my creativity.  I thrive on imagination, and any way to stretch my limits, is also a way to stretch my mind.  Writing fiction has always been one of my dearest hobbies.  In eighth grade, I met a girl from Chicago on a fiction site for young writers, and we became friends. Throughout high school, we served as each other’s pen-pals, co-writers, listening ears, best friends away from home, and in many ways, we served as each other’s inspiration.  After years of writing novels and letters, and talking for hours online and on the phone, we dreamed of one day meeting in person.  The older we grew, the closer the dream seemed, but we lacked the confidence and maturity to travel nearly fourteen hours to make the dream come true.  It lingered in our fantasies and yet quickly receded.

Back to the snapshot: I had reached Bowling Green and a few weeks had sped by just as the car that horrified me my first time behind the wheel had.  Yet these weeks did not scare me.  I continued corresponding with Victoria and we shared our college experiences, when in sunk the realization that the dream we had was eight hours closer then before.  So the plans began.  My confidence behind the wheel was growing all because I had taken a jump into the unknown and traveled eight hours away for school.  The next step was driving out to meet Victoria– six hours alone across Indiana and into Illinois.  It seemed insane, but I had grown from a scared girl at a residential stop sign, to a young woman, reaching further than I had ever imagined to make my dreams come true.

November of 2007, Victoria and I met.  Not only was I meeting the girl that had been my best friend away from home for five years, I was conquered my fear of driving, and inspiring myself to continue reaching.  If going away for college was not enough, a road trip to a dream definitely was enough to prove to myself that I am no longer a child.  I am completely capable of accomplishing anything I can dream, and dreaming anything I can fathom.

Teresa Lotz

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