by Hannah Solmor
Thirteen minutes. That is the exact amount of time it will take me to get to Twin Rinks Ice arena from the moment I turn on the window defroster in my driveway to when I finally work up the courage to brave the cold and enter the ice rink.
A tank top, a lulu long sleeve, my U.S.A. pullover, my Starlights Jacket and my black vest. This is the perfect combination of layers to achieve absolute comfort within the frozen tundra that is the Pleasant Prairie Recplex.
I know how many full runs to expect at practice, where I should sit in each rink lobby, what to wear to each practice, and which teammate to look to when I’m feeling doubt. Knowing this routine in such detail gives me a feeling of control.
With nothing left unknown, I am comfortable. The familiarities are soothing because they make me feel a strong sense of belonging. This is undoubtedly my home.
Yet, after seven seasons with the same coach, five seasons with my best friend, and countless memories hung up on the walls of my home, I am deserting the known to find a new home.
As I watched my friends commit to their dream colleges and post selfies adorned in their new school colors I felt a growing sense of anxiety. Generally not anxious, and an independent person, I couldn’t reconcile why I wasn’t feeling more excited to make my own decision. It seemed possible that maybe others were over exaggerating their excitement or that I was being dramatic, as I am prone to be, yet I found it hard to ignore my sense of panic whenever someone said the “c word.” People told me my whole life that college is “the best four years,” but as May 1st got closer and closer I convinced myself it was likely to be the worst. My options were slim and my desires far wider.
In an attempt to quell this never ending sense of college related doom, I sought advice from everyone who would listen. My parents, coaches, boyfriend, teachers, teammates, friends, and even a few strangers became sounding boards to help me create a Venn-Diagram of infinite diameter. With every successive conversation my head became heavier and my brain more strained. It felt like I was deciding what parts of me I liked enough to take with me to college.
Although naive, I kept waiting for the epiphany moment to strike. I pushed off making a decision in the hopes that it would just hit me one day. And in a way it did…
Rising to my feet to cheer on Miami University’s Senior Varsity Synchronized Skating Team as they took the ice in Budapest, Hungary as Team USA 2 I watched a lifelong friend compete in her first world championship. The vacation was initially planned to be my farewell to the world of synchronized skating, so I never anticipated that I would have my epiphany moment 4,809 miles from home, or that my epiphany would tell me to continue what I had already written off as part of my past. I came to the realization that I was not ready to let go of skating yet.
I crave control. I like knowing how many minutes to leave for travel, what is expected of me, and where I belong. Despite craving control, I don’t find myself anxious for the unknown at college. Embarking on this new journey, I don’t have control over much, yet I am willing to give up control in pursuit of what is to come. It is cliche to say endless opportunities await, but sipping from my Miami University water bottle and feeling a renewed passion for this sport, I approach the next chapter of my life excited and the good kind of fearful. I have found a new place to belong.