I got to Washington on a Saturday night. It was a warm evening in late September, and I was chest deep in far too many emotions to know what to do with them. Soon after arriving in the small Pacific North West town, my friend Jamie told me that some people were already moving in. I told my mom, and we both decided that moving all my stuff in a day early would probably help since there wouldn’t be as many people. I would still stay at the hotel with her for my last night of childhood (or so I thought of it), but all my stuff would already be moved in.

This seemed like a brilliant plan, until the anxiety set in. Sure, Jamie had told me that people were moving in, but for whatever reason I had persuaded myself into thinking that I wasn’t allowed to move in. Don’t ask me why, but I was totally convinced that there was some rule that said that all the other girls could move in early if they wanted to, but I couldn’t. My mom reminded me that I could just move in the next day, but then I convinced myself that moving in while 90% of Freshman girls were moving in seemed like a worse idea than simply being told I couldn’t move in that evening. My mom mentioned that I could just call the front desk to ask, and then I got anxious over the phone call.

It was an anxious evening.

After a few minutes of debating my options, I decided that calling to find out if I could move in. Because of the phone call anxiety, we wrote a script for myself on her phone so I could just read it off when the person answered. I punched in the phone number, took a deep breath, and when someone answered I said, “Hello, my name is Claira Eastwood and I am a Freshman moving into Conard Hall. I heard it is possible to move in tonight and I am wondering if that is true?” The girl on the other end of the phone said it was true and that I could move in after the sun went down (Adventist schools and stuff).

A few months later, the week before Thanksgiving break, I was sitting at a desk in the library and staring at a College Writing essay. I had procrastinated terribly because the prompt had been so simple I had been sure it would write itself. It was, in fact, not writing itself. To make matters worse, I’d had a (required) mentor meeting where I had been told that I probably needed to try harder in math. Great stuff. While looking at my half written essay that was due so soon, I felt my eyes fill with tears. I took out my phone and texted my mom. She talked me out of the ditch I had thrown myself into, and then sent me a screenshot of the script we’d written back in September. She reminded me of how much I had grown since then, and then said, “It’s funny how we grow wings when we start to flap.”

She was right, it’s funny how we grow when we force ourselves into places of growth. I moved to Washington without ever visiting the campus. We drove up and I just thought, “Well, I guess this’ll do.” I talked myself into talking to new people, and sometimes it paid off and sometimes it didn’t. For the second part of the year, I moved in with someone I didn’t know that well, and things turned out okay. I tried my hardest to bloom last year, and while I can’t say I did everything I wanted to do or accomplished everything I hoped I would, I can definitely say I grew up a little bit more. Here’s to blooming, and how we often don’t realize how much we’ve grown until we find remnants of anxiety ridden phone calls.