After receiving my diploma on Friday, June 11th at approximately 11:30 a.m., it finally hit me - I am really going to American University in Washington D.C. this fall.  That makes me beyond excited. The idea of living in a city and being able to start over again is an opportunity that makes me jump out of my seat with excitement. This is because American University is my dream school, in an amazing city. I will be running cross-country and track, and I will have access to amazing internships. I applied early decision this past fall, and I have never looked back. 

While I sit here and tell you about how excited and amazing everything sounds, inside, I am freaking out. I have gone to the same school since I was six years old.  McDonogh is a small country school located on 800 acres outside of Baltimore, MD. Going to American University is going to be a big adjustment. And while I know I will be able to make the switch, it's still weird to think I won't have the same support of friends and teachers behind me.  Making new friends can be a bit of a challenge for me.  Although I'm really social, at times I make a bad first impression.  I tend to tell people exactly what I think: good or bad, no matter who they are. But this definitely qualifies me to write a blog since I will always tell my two known readers like it is (thanks for reading Mom and Dad!). 

I have been with my boyfriend, Will, since my junior year of high school. Even though we made it through his freshman year of college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, this coming year is going to be completely different. It was great dating someone who was a freshman in college. It makes me feel like I have some sort of knowledge about college life. But realistically, my experience is going to be completely different from his.   

And of course, I am scared about how I am going to manage my money. I am worried about how I am going to live in a city, have new expenses, and be able to pay for everything. I am working this summer teaching swim lessons. I will earn about $1500. I also get a monthly allowance from my parents of  $100. And I am banking on some money from my grandma, hopefully enough to help buy books!  I am on my own for books and spending money. I have started a budget with the help of my dad.  My goal: not to live beyond my means. Even though I know this is going to be tough, I know that going into debt is not an option.  

 So yeah, I am scared and I think going to orientation next month will definitely help me become more comfortable. But for now, I am just going to enjoy my summer with my friends, boyfriend, and family.

Ariel Levin

Ariel Levin is a contributing writer for In College & Starting Out. She will be attending American University in Washington DC in the fall of 2010.  She knows being in a city like Washington will pose challenges and financial temptations. She will share her experiences as a college freshman who is just starting out and learning to manage her money on her own. Compensated CareOne Blogger.