After three years of dating (well, off and on, as you now know), Derek and I finally lived in the same city. I would like to say that I didn’t go to ACU because of Derek, but he definitely played a huge part in that decision. It really doesn’t matter how I got there, only that I did. I truly loved every second of being at ACU.
I was giddy with excitement as I moved into Nelson Dorm with one of my long time friends, Shauna. Derek was right there with me, helping me move in and get settled. It wasn’t really hard to say good-bye to my parents (and it wasn’t hard for them either…I’m the third out of four kids and I think by that point it’s not hard seeing the kids go away to college!) I adapted to college life very quickly. I loved the new friends I was making, loved the freedom, and loved getting to see Derek just about every day.
By the time the Spring semester rolled around, we were having some pretty serious talks about our future. We talked about engagement rings, when we wanted to get married, and imagined what it would be like. There were big decisions to be made, but not just about getting married. Derek’s graduation was fast approaching, and he had decided that he wanted to go to graduate school. He applied several schools in Texas, and one school in California. The California school was one of the top schools in the nation for his field, and (in his mind) it was a long shot that he would be accepted.
I, however, wasn’t surprised at all when the acceptance letter arrived from Cal Tech. But it definitely complicated things a bit. He was also accepted to Rice, which was in Houston and much closer to Abilene where I planned to stay. Derek didn’t want to make the decision without me, but I was hesitant to have to much of an opinion since we were not even engaged. Sure, we talked about getting married and we were very serious, but I didn’t want his decision to be based on me. After a lot of thought and a lot of prayer, Derek decided that after graduation he would be moving to California to pursue his PhD in Chemistry. I was so proud of how hard he had worked to get to where he was, and I knew he was making the best decision. But it wasn’t easy to think about us being apart again, especially since this time he would be 1200 miles away, not just two and a half hours down the road.