On this morning ten years ago I was up after a restless night wondering what the next chapter of my life would be like. I was seventeen years old and at around 11:30 AM I was flying to Atlanta for college. I hated my senior year of high school and was ready to leave Long Island for the longest and the time was finally here.
My father drove my mother and I to LaGuardia Airport and would be in Atlanta himself the next day. I said my goodbyes already and have one last hug to my twin sister who had always been by my side, but she wouldn’t be for this part of my life. That in itself would be an adjustment but I was ready for it.
I’d never been to Atlanta. All I knew of it was what I heard the OutKast and Goodie Mob songs that I listened to frequently. After we landed and got our rental car, we headed up I-85 to campus. I found myself looking around at my settings: all of the trees and country-ness that I wasn’t used to seeing as a New Yorker except for when we would go to South Carolina to visit family.
I made it to my dorm before my roommate did. He actually got there maybe five or ten minutes later. He was a kid about my height, similar build, had braids, and wore glasses. His name was Mensah from Detroit. You wonder who or what that first roommate will be and what they will be like; and after the guessing there he was. After some adjustments, we got along very well.
After our introduction my mother and I drove to Walmart in Austell, got stuff for my room and ate. One thing I will always remember about my first day in Atlanta is that it was the day T.I.’s Trap Muzik came out and Atlanta was treating it like Jay Z. The CD was sold out everywhere I went the first day or two I was there. That album holds a special place in my memory because it will always remind me of when I first left for college. I still have a Trap Muzik poster somewhere that I keep as a reminder of the day I left and the journey to manhood began.
Ten years later, I am not where I thought I’d be; but seventeen year old Chad would be proud. Going to Morehouse College was the second best decision I’d ever made with the first being asking Timile on a date (Which only happened because of the former). I learned a lot during my time in Atlanta. I made great friends who I am still close with, most of my New York friends are people that attended Morehouse or Spelman; and of course I fell in love and had a beautiful little girl. I would not be the man I am today had it not been for leaving for Atlanta.
As I’ve said before, my daughter has no choice in where she will be attending college because her mother and I have started a tradition. Hell, I know for a fact that in sixteen years they will be expecting her at Spelman. As fast as these ten years have flown by, I will be packing bags and preparing her for her trip to Atlanta before I know it.