This past year has been the fastest one of my life.

I moved away from my hometown, adjusted to college life as a freshman, made a lot of ramen noodles and attended countless Mizzou basketball games.

I always knew I wanted to attend the University of Missouri. My two older sisters went there, and it always seemed like a magical place. I remember visiting the campus to see my sisters when I was 12 or 13, and looking around at all of the cool college students, envying their backpacks and laptops and dorm room keys.

When I actually moved to Columbia, I realized life in college isn’t as glamorous as I had always imagined. Sure, I had my own backpack and laptop, but I also had a mountain of homework to go along with them.

Even if my view of Mizzou didn’t exactly match my preteen expectations, it was still a great year. I finally got to be a Tiger, and I was enrolled in the nation’s best journalism school.

And, perhaps the best perk of all, there was a Chick-fil-A less than 10 minutes away.

The morning that I was preparing to move to Columbia, my dad, Steve, handed me a letter. Until that moment, I had been doing great. I was excited to move to Columbia and begin my new life. In that letter from my dad, he gave me tons of advice about the upcoming year, most of which I quickly skimmed.

Then I got to the end.

“My memory often drifts back to my childhood and the times I spent visiting my grandparents here in the Ozarks,” he said. “There was always a peace that I didn’t feel anywhere else. The living was slow, and we didn’t get excited about too many things. We enjoyed simple pleasures and found fulfillment in them.”

This was the first time I cried about college. Not that I wasn’t excited to go, but that I was sad to leave the place I have always called home. Everytime I come back down, I feel that peace that my dad was talking about. The speed of life in Bolivar is slower than in Columbia, but I like it that way. The simple pleasures that can be found here will never get old.

Now, I am starting a new endeavor in the quickest year of my life. I’m an intern reporter here at the BH-FP, and like everything else this year, I’m sure my time at the paper will fly by. While I’m here, I’m going to do my best to cover the town that I grew up in.

I am so excited to be on board at the paper this summer, and I’m going to do this job to the best of my ability. I get to report on events in the place that gives me peace that I don’t feel anywhere else, which is the best summer job I could hope for.

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