A Young High School Graduate
Only two weeks after I graduated from high school, I started college with a hard and fast summer semester at Indiana University in South Bend- just a few miles from Notre Dame. I was enrolled in an accredited dental assisting program. At 17 years old, I was the youngest in every college class – my 18th birthday lurked in a not too distant future. The time commitment was huge as was the commute, thirty-eight miles each way on Indiana highways. I learned the quickest route and adjusted quickly to an extremely intense college schedule. I stayed (and liked) living at home and its affordability.
Summer Semester Gave Way to Fall
The drive became a bit more treacherous with rampant rains turning to snowy blizzards and icy roads. I kept my cool and drove carefully, safely. One late November early morning, as I turned off of Highway 2 onto US 20, my car headed off the edge of a snowy embankment even though I frantically tried to turn the wheel. The ice had its way with my steering, there was none. Turning into the skid had no bearing given that my little convertible Fiat Sport refused to obey any direction I gave. The snow became my instant friend as I plowed hood first down a soft embankment, though I resisted plenty.
After coming to a stop, I pushed against deep snow, shoved my door open and climbed out of my car, with much difficulty, mind you. The small hill I had to climb up to get to the highway gave me a little trouble as I slipped and tumbled several times. I eventually appeared at the shoulder of the road, and looked both ways for the nearest farmhouse. After about a twenty-minute hoof, I knocked on a white door and asked if I could use a phone book and phone – this was pre-cell phone or any kind of internet. I reached a service station and a tow truck was dispatched forthwith.
Forty minutes later, my car was pulled out of the snow by a tow truck wench, potential damage surveyed – there was none and I was back on the road having missed my first class – I am sure it was Clinical Science or a lab of some kind. I paid the tow truck driver my $15 cash, every cent I had on me, and went on my way. I had been terrified but too busy and eager to get to school to notice my terror until much later that day. I had a duty to fulfill and that fulfillment was all I could think about. My youth, now being eighteen, got in the way of being afraid, of knowing better, of driving-on-ice experience… I just did what I thought I needed to do in order to get to my destination.
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Keep Your Eye on the Destination
The journey and its effect, its danger, became secondary because I could only see the light at the end of US 20 –> the parking lot in front my school. Life is full of roadblocks and snow banks, black ice and poor brakes. Keeping your eye on the destination may not prepare you for the mishaps and detours but it will push you through them. It did for me. It does for me. Keeping an eye on the prize makes the race less crazy, less scary, less risky. If it’s what you truly want – no greasy, tattooed, and toothless tow truck driver will get in your way.
Driven, motivated, inspired, ambitious, encouraged.
by Rayanne Thorn