We have received a lot of mail over the last couple of weeks: a computer, new backpack, mattress topper...

I still cannot believe that I am already heading off to college, but each time I get another package, my mom insists we start packing it up —which reminds me of the season of Gilmore Girls when Rory packs for college and moves into her dorm. They only had one day or so to buy all of her stuff, so it all seemed quite overwhelming. That's about the extent of the preparation and knowledge I have about college move-in day.

Maybe my mom is right. I should probably get started. As I prepare to leave in a few short weeks, along with many of my friends, I can’t help but feel reminiscent and grateful; this is where the last seven years of my life have been spent, where an unbelievable amount of changing, growing, and maturing has taken place.

Interestingly enough, my family never expected that we would end up staying here for as long as we did. One year turned into two, and two into three. Before I knew it, this small town became my home. I pass the movie theater and remember the times my friends and I laughed a little too loudly. I drive to Caribou and it feels like just yesterday that I spent hours catching up on Inorganic Chemistry and Statistics. I drive around the lake and can’t even count how many times I have made the trip to my best friend’s house. My first time behind the wheel, my first boat ride, that time I lost my glasses in the lake... It all happened here.

Now, it is time that I leave the lake-bordered familiar roads of Detroit Lakes for the history-filled brick roads of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Don’t worry too much, this is actually not my first time headed to the area. My freshman year, I made it to national competition with the Business Professionals of America, and my whole family took a trip to Boston. We made a stop at the campus, rubbed John Harvard’s left shoe, and purchased a few souvenirs. The following summer, I found myself back in Boston, this time for Student Council. I knew where the nearest bathrooms were and all of the places to hit for the best pictures. Finally, this spring, I returned as a matriculated student, making friends, staying inside the dorms, and getting lost in the city.

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So, slowly but surely, I am packing for college. Thank you, Detroit Lakes, for all the memories. This is not quite a goodbye, because I will continue to write this monthly column, sharing some of my college experiences with you. While I know that the Massachusetts winters probably won’t compare to Minnesota’s, I have a feeling I will like it there.