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An Ode To My First College Apartment

to my first college apartment

To my first college apartment: It’s been years since I’ve walked through your front door. You saw me at my worst, my weakest, my most pathetic, and my proudest.

Your closet held the clothes that changed and grew with me. From the skimpy crop-tops I used to think were super cute to the conservative interview blouses. You never judged me for putting on that skirt in the dead of winter or wearing the same sweats two days in a row. You let me be me. (Even if I was a little tragic at times).

Your carpet will forever be stained by the hot pink nail polish that I told myself I wouldn’t spill, by my best friend’s hangover puke, by the pasta I tried to make that really didn’t turn out too well. I’m sorry.

Your bulletin board held a note from my father. Your table displayed my academic awards. Your walls held the slightly crooked picture frames (I hadn’t learned the art of hammering a nail straight quite yet). And your bathroom showed off the cute wire bins that I bought trying to ‘adult.’ (Quite an upgrade from the dollar store boxes, right?)

It was within your walls that I learned how to cook something other than scrambled eggs. (Thank God). That I cried over a boy I thought I’d spend forever with. That I learned how to study for exams, and forgive, and pay rent on time.

It was in your tiny kitchen that I made dinners, laughed with friends, kicked off my shoes and stumbled drunk into my bed. I kissed boys. I curled up with girlfriends. I listened to music and danced in the mirror. I called my mother and wept.

To nmy first college apartment: It was you that taught me to be responsible, to vacuum, to check my credit card statements, to throw away food when it was well past the expiration date. To kill spiders (or attempt…and phone a friend), to do my laundry, to open the windows and let the world in.

It was in your four walls that I forgave myself for mistakes. That I learned to be independent and strong. That I learned who I was as a person, who I could be.

To my first college apartment: You taught me that home is not a permanent state, but a feeling. A sense of belonging. Ownership. Making something that is new and foreign, yours.

You taught me to love. Love a place, and claim it. Love others, and share this place with them.

And most importantly, love myself. Thank you for believing in me.

Featured Image Credit: Patrick Perkins

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Marisa Donnelly, M.Ed., is a writer/editor, credentialed teacher, proud bonus mama, and CEO of Be A Light Collective, a coaching and content creation business and digital marketplace. She is the Director of Donnelly’s Daily Apple, a flexible learning/tutoring and educational resource platform, and the lead voice for Momish Moments and Step by Step Parents, verticals dedicated to sharing and advocating for non-traditional parenting journeys. Marisa currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiancé, kiddo, and their two rambunctious Pitbulls. ❤️

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