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Goodbye to Oregon, it's time to start a new life chapter

Pacer Notes

ROGERSI think it’s fitting that by the time this goes out to the masses (thanks, by the way, to those who stopped to read this last hurrah), I’ll be comfortably living in the air-conditioned South.

This isn’t just my goodbye to a column I’ve loved writing for the past year. It’s also a goodbye to Oregon, to the last Dutch Bros. chocolate frost of the year and to the last time I drive by my old high school. This is a good thing. I’m on to a school with an enrollment the same size as the town of Lake Oswego — on to bigger and different things and experiences I couldn’t have if I stayed. Still, I’m going to miss this town.

I’m going to miss the inside jokes I’ve cultivated over the last eight years. I’d explain them all here, but they really aren’t that funny out of context. I’m going to miss when I drive down the street and recognize a car as it drives past — I’m going to miss my car, too, leaky roof and all.

I know that life will go on without me here. Lake Oswego High School will still play Lakeridge High this fall — and in football, at least, I’d still put money on LOHS (please prove me wrong). My younger sister starts high school this August, and she’ll try out for the soccer team. All my junior friends will take up the reins of the senior class, and they’ll all stress over college decisions.

But I won’t be here.

It’s a valuable lesson, that things move on with or without you, and that in order to keep up, sometimes, you need to stay in touch. This was originally a goodbye, but it’s quickly become a mid-year resolution.

For me, 2016 has been a year for growing up. In the span of the past six months, my older sister had her first child, my brother got married, I’ve headed to college and our younger sister became a high school student. If we’re all growing up, that means in some way, shape or form, everyone else has been growing up, too. I think it’s important to try and stay close as that all happens, so that we can all celebrate the various events that occur. It’s a lot easier to leave when I know my support network will still be here for me.

I wish that some things could stay the same. It’d be nice if I could sit in the same spot I sat for the past two years in calculus, and have that same core group of kids in English. I know this is a fantasy that won’t ever be enacted, and that everyone in those classes is leaving and getting ready to grow up, too, but I’d love just one more literary device assignment — even if I got a 3.5 out of 5 on it.

I feel, at times, caught between the spheres of my adulthood and my adolescence. I had to get something notarized the other day, which was the pinnacle of my short-lived career as an adult. I then went around the block with my dog and sister and hunted Pokemon, so it’s safe to admit to everyone that I am not quite ready to start my 9-5 life quite yet. From chatting with my friends, I know they often feel the same way.

It’s hard to be launched from high school, where you still have to ask to use the bathroom, to college, where no one really tells you where you need to go, even at orientation. That’s not to say that my orientation session wasn’t awesome, but the level of freedom you’re suddenly exposed to can be incredibly overwhelming at times.

So this is it. My goodbye, my resolution and my new beginning, all rolled into less than a thousand words. I’m glad that it’s finally happening, but I can’t help but think back to when I started kindergarten. I was terrified, clinging to my mom’s hand, unsure of what to expect.

Thirteen years later, I am no longer holding on quite so tightly to my parents, and being terrified has been replaced by a nervous energy — I still have no idea what to expect, of course, beyond cheering for a super-successful football team and studying. I’m comforted by the fact that freshmen all across the nation will be feeling the same way. Just like them, I promise to stay in touch with the friends I leave behind, to make at least one point of contact with my mom every single day, and to do my laundry on a regular basis.

I have handed off my gift card to Qdoba, given my sister the one dress we fought over every few weeks, and run down my gas tank so that I don’t waste any money on gas I didn’t use. My suitcases are packed, my room cleaned, and (as of the time of writing), I have one more night in Lake Oswego.

I think that means there’s only one last thing to do, as I write these closing sentences. And that’s to say, “Goodbye, everyone. I’ll be back in December, so don’t relax too much. I’ll miss you guys.”

Christena Rogers is a graduate of Lakeridge High School and one of two Pacer Notes columnists. She will be attending the University of Alabama this fall, and she will be missed. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..