By Alejandra Chamorro
It was 80 degrees outside, the sky was clear and I was mentally preparing myself to walk 20 minutes under the blazing sun. The typical college student would usually drive to Walgreens, but I do not have that luxury. Unlike them, my form of transportation is either Uber or my own two legs. This time, I chose the latter.
When I exited Parkview Hall on MMC campus, the heat was unbearable so I tied my long, brown hair into a high ponytail. As I looked towards the horizon, the reflection of the sun on the white concrete sidewalk made my eyes squint. In that moment, I wished I had listened to my mom when she said, “People with light eyes, should always wear sunglasses outside.”
Luckily, the path got darker when I walked under the trees in front of Panther Hall. Looking at that housing building brought a lot of freshman memories. I reminisced about the first night I spent there. I remembered hugging my dad goodbye and walking into an empty dorm room. It was a lonely night because my roommates had not yet moved in. Little did I know a Peruvian, a Dominican and a girl from Ohio would become like sisters to me.
As I stared at my old home, I recalled the many “first times” that happened there. The first time I did laundry, the first time I got ready for a fraternity party and the first time I brought a guy over were all experienced at Panther Hall. Every time I walk next to that building, I can’t help but feel happy and grateful for it all.
While I was going down memory lane, I witnessed three natural beauties back-to-back. The first one was the reflection of a rainbow in a man-made waterfall between Panther Hall and Everglades Hall. The second one was a duck and her ducklings walking into the waterfall. Although their path was interrupted by a can of Bud Light, it was still a nice view. Lastly, I saw a golden retriever stick its head out of a car window, waving its tongue uncontrollably, without a care in the world.
Normally, I wouldn’t have noticed those random events. Yet, it was the first time I was walking around campus without any technological distractions. It was just my surroundings, my thoughts and myself.
Once I passed the housing quad and looked at the School of Music and the Frost Museum, I began to think about my future. I questioned where my graduation photos were going to be and how I was going to decorate my graduation cap. I had it all thought out. My graduation cap would be covered with four special symbols that represent my undergraduate career. It would have the flag of my home country of Puerto Rico; the Greek letters of my sorority; words spelling out my major; and a ‘thank you’ message to my mom and dad. I saw myself taking pictures with that symbolic cap all over campus.
After planning my graduation memorabilia, all I could think about was, “Wow, after four years of living here, I’m moving.” Instead of feeling sad, I was actually excited to see what my life was going to look like outside of the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.
All those feelings of excitement and enthusiasm came to a halt when I took the shortcut through the outside parking lot next to Blue garage. All of a sudden, my mom’s memory came to mind. While I was getting all hyped up for graduation, I remembered she wouldn’t be there to see me get my diploma.
The memory of how my mom passed away about a year ago began to overpower my happy thoughts. All the hard work she put into getting her four children into college was unbelievable, and I wanted to thank her. I pictured what I would say to her if I could see her. In my mind I said, “Thank you, Mamá, for pushing me to overcome my fears and believe in myself.”
Before I got all teary-eyed, my phone started vibrating. I ignored it for two reasons: It was going to ruin a touching moment, and I was about to cross the street from campus to the Walgreens plaza.
I hit the button at the street poll and, as I waited for the light to turn red, I remembered how a car in this intersection hit one of my friends. She had been walking with her earphones on, listening to music, when a car hit her on her side. Luckily, all she had was a small bump on her head and did not suffer any long-term damages.
When it was safe for me to walk, I had to wait for one car to pass that clearly did not get the memo it was my turn to walk. In that moment, I thought, “Maybe if I was plugged into my iPhone, I would have also gotten hit.” Chills covered my body, as I walked through that long intersection, hoping I wouldn’t encounter the same fate as my friend.
Finally, many deep thoughts and sweat drops later, I got to Walgreens. Without getting distracted by the Christmas decorations and makeup samples, I walked to the medicine aisle. I planned to get rid of my nasal congestion and headache once and for all, even if it meant walking 20 minutes under the blazing sun, taking a trip down memory lane, and conversing with my late mother.