Common Ground

Common Ground

From Chicken Soup for the College Soul

From a Previous Reader

[EDITORS’ NOTE: The following story was submitted to us by a college student about her first day on campus.]

Common Ground

Towards the end of high school, when it came time to start thinking about what colleges I was interested in applying to, there was only one thing on my mind: I wanted to get away from home. I was the oldest of two kids, and had begun to feel the urge to be on my own, that I was ready to take charge of my own life.

Even at the time of being accepted to Virginia Tech, I was excited at the prospect of starting over, with new faces, and new things to see and do. I had no boyfriend at the time, (in fact, I had just gotten out of a pretty bad relationship), and felt that I had no ties keeping me in my New Jersey hometown.

But as the time arrived to pack my bags and prepare to leave, the reality of what I was doing hit home hard. I cried as I realized that I was going to be eight-and-a-half hours away from everything and everybody that was familiar to me. I was leaving the town where I had grown up, and all the things about it that I loved.

For the first few days after arriving at school, I thought that I was not going to make it through the year. I had yet to meet anyone besides a few random girls in my dorm, whom I was fairly sure did not even remember my name. After a tearful call back home, I grabbed one of the few books that had make it into my suitcase, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, and I headed down to the quad to read a few stories. They had always been able to cheer me up before, and I was hopeful that they would now.

On the way out, I passed another girl in the hallway. She saw the book in my hand and smiled, saying that she had the same book in her dorm room, too. I took a chance, and invited her to come read with me. Being as homesick as I was, she agreed, and we found our way onto the quad.

Before we knew it, we were surrounded by girls, who, like us, had either read or owned the book, and who loved it as much as we did. As I watched the tears fall down everyone’s faces and the smiles grow as we all read, I realized that I was not alone, and even if all we had in common was the love for the book, it was something to start with.

The days went on, and I still missed home— but the campus was beautiful, the people were kind, and it became better and better as the school year continued. I began to realize that there were many people who, like myself, were homesick and just wanted to make friends. The night we spent reading bonded a group of us together, and most of us still hang out now.

The binding of my book is now ripped and cracked from overuse, but I still feel amazing when I read each story. It is unbelievable to me how many souls and hearts have been touched by the book, and how many spirits have been raised and inspired. It gave me hope for a great new beginning, and the knowledge that sometimes all it takes is one small thing for many people to find a common ground.

Megan Narcini

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