Laura Ann says goodbye

Finals are over, summer break has begun, and I am home from SWOSU as a sophomore in college.My mom came up the day before my last final to help me pack and move out of my dorm room so that I could focus on studying, and it was so nice of her. It's incredible how much you can stuff in a tiny room because my mom and I had two cars full of my stuff to bring home. As soon as we got everything loaded, it began to rain, and as soon as we hit the road it got worse. Decent-sized hail, hard rain and reports of tornado sightings were among the obstacles we had to face and it took us twice as long to get from Weatherford to Oklahoma City as usual. We pulled over about four times to let the hail stop, but once we made it to the city, it was clear all the way to Poteau. I had to stay on my mom's tail to stay together, but we finally made it. Once we pulled into town, it was late and I was so glad to be almost home. I was even met with flashing lights just as I got into town, but unfortunately they were in my rear-view mirror.I've never been pulled over by a police officer before, and my mom had no idea that I was being stopped because she couldn't see out her back window. I calmly pulled my car off the road and rolled my window down, but as soon as the police officer asked me how I was doing, I just lost it and the hysterical waterworks of post-finals stress began.I don't think the poor guy understood a word I said, but I found out he pulled me over for tailgating my mom. I explained the day I'd had and, fortunately, he sent me home without a warning or a ticket or anything, for which I am extremely grateful. It wasn't the happy homecoming I had pictured, but it did make for a funny story when I did finally make it home.With the end of this school year, I have been reflecting on all the things I accomplished and learned, and all of the moments that brought me to here. I've got to keep focusing and preparing myself to apply for pharmacy school next spring.With that, I would like to announce that I will not be continuing my column on a weekly basis. This isn't a goodbye forever, but just a so long for now. I hope to write columns here and there, but after more than five years I feel like it is time for me to move on.I cannot express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to write my experiences, thoughts and feelings for you the past several years. It has been such a blessing to receive all the positive feedback and know that I have such support in my community. Some of you have been reading this column since I began back in the 8th grade, and you have watched me grow up and become the young woman that I am today. Sitting down every week to reflect and share has been such a positive and one of a kind experience. I am able to read back on my old columns and get a little glimpse into my high-school and even middle-school mind and how it developed, week by week. Thank you everyone who has followed along on this journey with me, and thank you to those who have supported and encouraged me along the way. The thoughtful e-mails from all of you have been such a pick-me-up this year while I was away at school. Keep a lookout for me, because I'll be popping in here and there, so as always ...Later,Laura Ann