Going away to college can be a scary choice to make. From the moment my brother decided that he would be “going away” to college to the very moment I had made the decision to also leave the nest to pursue a higher education, I knew that it was a big and scary decision. It wasn’t just because I would be away from the one thing that helped to shape who I am. There were so many risks that came with leaving the comfort of my family for an entirely unknown environment, and yet there was still a craving to go. I personally have a very close relationship with my family, but leaving them wasn’t difficult. It was missing them that really threw me for a loop.
What I tried to do when my parents moved me into my dorm, was to bring as much of home as I could, so that I could still feel comfortable with where I slept and studied. But one of most important things I brought with me was my 15 year old stuffed animal whose name is Sweetdreams. When I was three my family lived in the City of Reno in Nevada, where I am now attending college, as my dad was following his job to support his steadily growing family. I definitely only have a few vivid memories from when my family used to live there. This included playing in the snow, my little sister being born, and even playing with other families’ little kids. But one of the most striking memories I had was when I was having nightmares.
I had woken up in the middle of the night crying from what I believe was a disturbing dream. I cried until my dad poked his head into my room with a concerned look on his face. After asking me what was wrong I proceeded to tell him that I had had a bad dream and that I was scared to fall back asleep. He smiled sweetly at me and turned around saying that he had something that would do just the trick. When he came back, he had a spotted teddy bear that he had won at Circus Circus, one of the casinos in town. Holding it out to me, he told me that this teddy bear, as long as I always sleep with it, would give me sweet dreams. Because of what my dad said to me, I named him Sweetdreams. And I refused to sleep a single night without him till I was about 8 years old.
This teddy bear was one of the most important things to me as a child. It was what I pinned all my hopes of happiness on when I went to sleep, and it continued to be a comfort even when I knew that it was just a stuffed animal. As I have gotten older, the meaning of having it became more of a reminder of my dad and how much he loves me. Sweetdreams was a treasure, and he had sentimental value in my eyes. It was obvious to me that he would be a necessity to bring to college.
Though I don’t regularly sleep with Sweetdreams anymore, I still hold him sometimes and remember the times when he would bring me so much joy and comfort. I hold him and remember my dad giving him to me 15 years ago. He is such a comfort during those hard days when the homesickness just doesn’t seem to go away. Sweetdreams, along with all the pictures of my family that I hung on my wall and little mementos I brought with me, all remind me of home. And it is through these things that I have made Nevada more like home.