One month and counting


July 11th officially marks my final month of living here in Hattiesburg. As I’m typing this, it still doesn’t even feel entirely like it’s the truth, and I don’t expect it to anytime soon, but ever since a good friend of mine casually reminded me of this fact, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about everything that I’ll be leaving behind.

I’ve only been a citizen of the Hub City for the past seven years, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it feels as if I’ve lived here my entire life.

Maybe it’s because I got to experience both middle and high school here, or possibly because it’s where I got my first car, earned my first job and a plethora of other things.

But I think most of all it’s because of the people that I’ve had the opportunity to meet while I’ve been here.

“Meet” is honestly a complete understatement in every way, shape and form of the word. Who I am as a person has a direct correlation with the life I’ve lived alongside the people I’ve grown closest to.

There’s this bottomless pit in the middle of my stomach that tends to reappear every so often whenever I begin to think about the prospect of having to make entirely different friends when I finally move to Tennessee.

If I’m being completely honest, I’ve been friends with the same people for so long, I don’t even remember how I became friends with them in the first place.

Having moved to a different state every couple of years as I was growing up, the pit isn’t a feeling I’m unfamiliar with, but it’s still just as uncomfortable and disheartening as it was the first time I felt it leaving Iowa eight years ago.

And leaving Maine before that.

And Oklahoma prior to that.

But this time feels a little bit different. It feels like the top of the hill right before you go down a massive roller coaster.

The adrenaline rush when you finally talk to that girl you’ve been wanting to for years.

The thousands upon thousands of butterflies that swarm in your stomach while seeing your favorite band for the first time.

It feels like someone’s grabbed me by the most inner part of my gut and is pulling me towards the next exciting moment of my life.

It’s less of a pit – more of a ball of light exploding in my chest.

And I know it’s a very cliché way to describe going to college, but I honestly don’t know what to compare it to.

I don’t really know what to expect out of any of this. Every single person I’ve talked to about the situation has tried to give me their take on what to expect, and somehow, every single person has said something different, which has somehow left me even more confused about what to feel than before.

British writer Gyles Brandreth theorizes that the average human says 860,341,500 words over the span of their lifetime.

But I don’t think even that would be able to point me in the right direction. But until then, I’ve got a month to figure this whole college thing out. And that’s practically a lifetime.

I’m sure that waiting until the last possible moment to grasp this information has definitely never affected anyone negatively, right?



Bynum Gustafson is a recent graduate of Oak Grove High School and soon-to-be freshman at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. This is his second summer working as a news intern with the team at The Lamar Times, The Petal News, and The Hatteisburg Post.