“Movin’ Out” by Billy Joel

This last summer I moved out. This may sound scary and exciting, but it turned out to be the latter—and one of my favorite experiences so far.

I lived and worked in Chautauqua, New York. Chautauqua is home to a small, non-profit community called the Chautauqua Institute that sits on Lake Chautauqua. The Institute advertises itself as a “a community of artists, educators, thinkers, faith leaders and friends dedicated to exploring the best in humanity” (https://chq.org/). I have been going to the Institute with my mom every summer for about 12 years. At the Institute, I’ve met celebrity authors, learned to sail, worked with Met Opera singers, and more. It’s hard to find words to truly encompass all that the Institute is, but residents who boast generations of summers there compare it to a utopian society. If anywhere comes close, it’s Chautauqua.

The amphitheater at Chautauqua Institute.

I knew I wanted to move out the summer before college. I wanted to get used to being away from home because Holy Cross is a 10-hour drive from my home in Ohio. Additionally, I worked three jobs in the Institute. As an usher at the outdoor Amphitheater, I made many long-lasting friendships with my co-workers while having the opportunity to see countless amazing performances such as Harry Connick Jr., The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and The Roots, just to name a few. I also am now Amphitheater-famous for my world records set in the Usher Olympics, of course. I also worked at an inn, helping out in everyday jobs to earn myself a free room to stay in during the summer. This was a very nostalgic job in particular for me, because I used to stay at the Inn when my mom and I first came to Chautauqua, and this was the last summer the Inn would be running, because it was sold this year. And the icing on the cake—I puppy sat in my free time.

Keely, the puppy I watched this summer.

My mom spent the first two weeks of the summer with me before I faced the world of living on my own for the first time. Honestly, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Chautauqua was a familiar enough place to me that it just felt like normal. Apart from missing my dogs, I didn’t feel as homesick as I would have thought. It was honestly nothing but exciting and liberating to live on my own.

Now that I’ve been at Holy Cross for 2 months, I can definitely say even now that moving out has helped me enormously with my transition to college. I haven’t felt as homesick as I would have thought, and consequently, I have been able to really enjoy my college experience even more (besides that one time I cried over missing my dogs, but we don’t have to talk about that.)

Chewie (left) and Scout (right), my dogs back home!

Overall, this experience really shaped me and my college experience so far. I was given the opportunity to test out the professional world before heading off to college, and I can see myself returning to Chautauqua every summer that I can. I would definitely recommend this to any incoming freshman that wants to try it out and are given the opportunity to.

Scout visiting me over the summer!