When I left Brooks in 2006 and started attending Fresno City College in the spring of 2007 I never thought that I would ever get this far into college. In fact to be honest I didn’t really see myself doing this well in school let alone getting into and doing well at a UC; all of which makes my entire experience this semester that much more inspiring and exciting for me. This semester is my first time at “Big Kid College” and the challenges have been enormous I’ve had to go from a school setting filled with scantrons and little to no assigned reading to a school with multipage in class essays, 8 to 10 page research papers and up to 300 pages of reading a week. They say that the transition from Community College to UC is difficult and that everyone experiences a slight grade drop their first semester, I’m glad to say that I pulled though this semester pretty well off I got all B+’s in all my classes which I feel is pretty good for my first semester at UC Merced; now that I know what’s expected from me next I’m going to make Dean’s List this spring I thought that maybe UC had broken me at the start of the semester but in reality I was just transitioning and did a lot better than some of my fellow transfers. I’ve learned a lot about myself this semester and I feel that I’ve really grown as a person, a citizen, and a student over the last 18 weeks. I’ve done things that I’ve never done before, I’ve gotten back into Student Government, I ran for a spot in the ASUCM Senate, I bought UC Merced apparel, I’m thinking about studying abroad and I’m entertaining the idea of joining a fraternity this spring; 25 weeks ago if I had told myself that I had done all of this I would have laughed and sworn up and down that none of this was even possible, I guess that’s what UC Merced has done to me it’s forced me to really reevaluate my life and the way I look at things. I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I had come to UC right out of high school with the maturity that I have now? If I’ve changed this much in one semester what would 4 years do to me?
This semester has been all about change, everything about me has changed from the way I look at the world to my life plans and goals. Other things have changed as well, last week Tarra and I broke up. After over three and a half years together the distance and separation finely caught up with us and forced us to both admit what we had been feeling for a while. The brake up wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t messy we were both sad to see our relationship end, 1298 days is a long time to be with the same person and no matter how much you grow apart you still feel connected in a way. Tarra made me a better person, when I wanted to drop out of Fresno City College she made me go back, when I wanted to settle and go to Fresno State Tarra made me push for my dreams and apply to UC (I’ve wanted to go to UC since I was in the 8th grade but didn’t have the grades, drive, or motivation for it), it’s hard to really claim any achievement I’ve made in the last three in a half years solo for myself because every time I did anything I always did it for Tarra and our future together. I was accepted to UC Davis and UC Merced, I had fallen in love with UC Davis when Tarra and I visited in 2009 UC Davis feels like what I thought college should feel like to me it was my real driving force though out my last year of Community College. Every day in class I would tell myself that I need to do well because I want to go to Davis, I want to live with Tarra, I want to go to Real College; every time I told myself this I would look at my binder and stare at the picture that Tarra and I took at the Fresno Fair. It sounds kind of corny but it was the truth, every class, every test, every day for over a year I would look at us and see our future and remind myself that I had to work harder than every single one of my snooty 18 year old classmates so that I could get to UC Davis. Even when I decided to go to UC Merced Tarra supported me and encouraged me; even as Tarra was starting her graduate program at UC Davis she was always supporting me. I’ve only really grieved a few times in my life, I grieved and cried when I found out my mother had cancer, when I saw the Columbia space shuttle explode, when I left Brooks, and on the drive back from Davis after stopping at IKEA for forks. The forks were a mistake; IKEA was one of my favorite places to go with Tarra. We would sometimes spend half a day at IKEA just playing husband and wife, we would pretend that each kitchen and bedroom was ours and we would decorate, price, and imagine what our life would be like. I didn’t know how badly it would hit me, I didn’t expect the have to go to the bathroom and cry my pain out it hadn’t been an experience I had really felt before so the entire experience just sort of hit me. I came home to my great roommates, my friends all knew what had happened and came up the next night to drink with me. I’m fairly sure I killed a good part of my live over those two days, but having my friends come up and support me really helped me. Now I’m single, now I’m alone and I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know what I’m going to do, I know that I can’t remain impartial to these events so I know that everything I think now is tainted with the brake up yet for now I can’t see myself finding someone like Tarra in the near future, Tarra is one of those one in a million kind of girls the kind that just clicks with you and grows on you which means there are only 307 Tarra class women in America and my odds of finding another girl like her are pretty slim. Who knows what will happen, UC Merced has changed me so much this semester that I might find someone that I’ll spend the rest of my life with, maybe things might change between Tarra and I down the road if our future paths cross again. For now all I can do is take this one day at a time, one day the emptiness I feel will pass, at least I hope it passes, and I’ll be able to trust someone else but until then it’s all just one step at a time. Tarra Avants and Kyle Hamilton: 1293 Amazing Life Changing Days.