A thought pressing in my mind. A sense of nostalgia mixed with my life experiences. Northern Illinois University, this was the first school I attended post high school. Getting to know a campus, living out of my parent’s home but not too far away gave me a sense of comfort and it added experience to my resume of life. During Christmas break my family and I had the opportunity to travel to Salt Lake City, UT for skiing. I was not a big skier, still I am not. Sorry to all those who love the mountains and the powder. There are some in my family that love it! While the skiers were skiing, my Mom and I drove past the University of Utah. I loved it! I looked at it and felt that I was going to come back. How or when I did not know but I did return. It worked out. Against my many worries about being on my own, far away from home, friends and family and the possible lack of opportunity of making friends because it was a “commuter school,” I took the risk and the leap of faith. I traveled nearly 2000 miles, with my Mom, through the flatlands of Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska through the mountains of Wyoming into the Salt Lake Valley. A long ride but a good one. We made it. I settled in and my Mom returned on a plane back to Chicago, IL where I grew up. That is when I realized I was alone (meaning no family or close friends to hang out with). I was 18. It was my choice, I had made the decision to give it a try with the knowledge that I could always pack my bags and return to Chicago where everything was familiar, well, mostly everything. Most of my high school friends had set out on their own new paths to various Universities, so hanging out with them probably wasn’t going to happen much. In any case, I stuck it out in Utah. That first semester was the longest. I remember counting the days until I could go home for Thanksgiving. It seemed so far away and each day was my longest day! Finally, the day came, I went home for Thanksgiving then returned, continuing to stick it out. I had classes. I really can’t remember the first ones I had, I think I was still in shock and wondering why I had made this extreme decision. Time passed and Utah started becoming more familiar to me, people started becoming more familiar and I felt like I was gaining momentum. Friendships started forming and I felt like I was becoming aware of my life and the opportunities I had. Recently while thinking about my choice to head to the University of Utah, I was reflecting on the different roads and paths that I could have taken. In reflecting on these different paths and roads in my life I have come to appreciate the road that has led me where I am now. I am grateful for the experiences each path has given me and how they have helped me to become more aware of who I am and the purpose I have in my life. I have met many wonderful and inspirational friends, acquaintances and people along the way. I have learned and remembered my passion for so many things in my life. Even though at times the “what if’s” or “If I would have given this a chance” or “maybe I was supposed to”or “if I would have known what I know now” or “If I believed more in myself” things would have turned out this way or that way pop up, I believe that everything happens for a reason. I have found myself aware that I am here (living in Salt Lake City with my husband and three kids) at this point in my life with a purpose. As time has passed I have gained the knowledge and experiences of all those what if’s and in between’s as part of my documented history.