Pitfalls and Pit Stops: My First Time in NYC

Times Square
Times Square

I know what you’re thinking.

This insane woman accepted her offer to New York University without ever having been to New York City before.

What an idiot.

Okay, listen. In my defense, I grew up watching shows like Full House, Family Matters, Home Improvement, The Nanny, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. But, as I got older, two shows continuously stuck out in my mind. Friends and How I Met Your Mother. Both located in New York City, Friends itself taking place in the Village.

I didn’t know that when I started falling in love with them.

So ha. True love is blind.

Not to mention the fact that I’d done more research on New York City than any paper I’d ever been assigned in high school (not that I ever did much research on those anyway), I’d visited cities like Detroit and Nashville and felt completely at home, and my sister Katie and my parents told me all about their own adventures there. I felt like I knew the city already. It just felt right.

Anyway, I accepted NYU’s offer and watched with bated breath, waiting for my first opportunity to see the city. That opportunity came when NYU announced its Weekend on the Square; a sort of first welcome to the freshmen class.

We RSVP’d and began planning the complicated road trip. The event took place on a Saturday, so my brother Jack and I were forced to skip school Friday to make the twelve-hour drive possible. Mom had to be back for work bright and early Monday morning, and we both had school. But, to top it all off, Katie was working lights for the Wizard of Oz at a local theatre and needed my help Sunday around 2pm. So, our brilliant plan of attack involved staying in a hotel Friday night in Jersey City, going to Manhattan all day Saturday, and then driving through the night so we would make it home by Sunday morning.

Simple, right? Not dangerous at all.

(This is why we call this blog “misadventures”.)

Now Weekend on the Square was a one day deal. You get there at 9am, take a couple of tours, sit through a couple of orientations, and then boom. You’re done. So we planned on touring as much of New York City as we could in one day. That meant Times Square, Broadway, Chinatown, the 9/11 Memorial, and Union Square all had to fit into about six short hours.

NYU's library (which holds over 3 MILLION books)
NYU’s library (which holds over 3 MILLION books)

It was the Thursday before we were set to leave around 7pm when the very obvious occurred to me. One of my Howell friends, Dawn, has dreamed of seeing New York City for even longer than I have. She and I are obsessed with Broadway, musicals, and celebrities to the point where I question our sanity. I was laying down to take a nap because I wasn’t feeling well (my throat had been acting up for a couple of days), when it struck me that we’d have an extra seat in the car since Katie had to stay home for work. It’s not like it costs money to have an extra body in the vehicle, right?

So why not take Dawn?

Well, that involved a whole other set of communications and issues, including getting to her before my other friends told her about my plan. I showed up at her house and told her to pack her stuff because I couldn’t just go to NYC without her.

Needless to say, she was pretty ecstatic.

And that’s how my best friend Dawn, my little brother Jack, my mother, my father, and I ended up in a minivan on our way to New York City, squished between stuffed animals, suitcases, tissues, and Dayquil.

This is where life began to get interesting.

I woke up for the most exciting trip of my life feeling like death.

About seven days later, I’d go to the ER and get diagnosed with Bronchitis. But no one knew I had that at the time. I was coughing, my throat was barely functional, and by the time we stopped for lunch at Burger King on Friday afternoon, I was attempting to communicate with my family via sign language that Dawn was teaching me as we drove along.

I was miserable. The worst part about having Bronchitis is that, if you manage to fall asleep, you will be one million times more miserable when you wake up than you already were. Your throat is dry, you can hardly breathe, and all you want to do is go back to sleep. So I took a lot of medicine, ate a lot of Saltine crackers, and played a lot of 2048 (I still haven’t beaten that stupid game).

But we kept pushing along. Sometime throughout that day, we reached New Jersey. After discovering that the scenic view at the first rest-stop was “closed” along with the bathrooms and the rest-stop itself  (mind you, it wasn’t even 4 in the afternoon), we discovered that New Jersey doesn’t seem like a very nice place.

Our hotel room
Our hotel room

You know what they say about first impressions though. According to Lemony Snicket, they are “often entirely…wrong”.

I was forcing myself to perk up and have a good time when we reached Jersey City.

Most people feel like a fish out of water in a big city, especially if they’ve never lived in one before. It’s loud and obnoxious, and there are a ton of people, a ton of traffic, and it’s intimidating.

I absolutely love everything about it.

I might have felt horrible, but I was so excited to be in a city again that I almost forgot how sick I was (unless I tried to talk, because then I was pretty well reminded).  Dawn and I must have looked like the biggest tourists within a five mile radius. Our eyes were so big, I thought they were going to pop out of our heads.

We checked into our (gorgeous) hotel, and decided to make an attempt to go out for dinner. After all, New York style pizza is supposedly the best thin crust pizza in the world. And, being a pizza addict myself, I had to have it.

One of the valets at the hotel pointed us toward an “authentic” pizza place that was supposed to be about half a mile away.

We must have wandered for an hour until we finally found the right place on a tiny little corner in the middle of an extremely sketchy looking Jersey City neighborhood. The food, however, was completely worth it.

Pizza Pizza
Pizza Pizza

The “misadventure” came when we determined we weren’t willing to walk all the way back to the hotel. So the cashier called us a cab. What actually showed up to get us was in no way marked as a cab. There was a guy in it on his cell phone and the car looked mysteriously like ours. Normal, nothing in it that actually proved he was a cab driver. We were pretty weirded out. We thought it was a mistake until the cashier went, “Hey, that’s your cab out there.”

After practically forcing my mother to get into the van (she may have been the only smart one in the group), we sat awkwardly as the driver made his way through Jersey City, each of us half expecting the car to pull off into some dark side-street where we’d all get killed.

But, luckily, unmarked cabs are apparently a normal thing in the city, because we were dropped off at our hotel without a problem and the driver thanked us profusely (his first words to us throughout the entire car ride) after my dad tipped him $5.

I have to say, that was probably the weirdest experience ever.

The next day, we headed toward Manhattan. I tried so hard to believe that I didn’t feel awful but, the truth was, it was getting worse.

The city from the hotel room
The city from the hotel room

My first glimpse of Manhattan was in complete awe. I think that’s the way everyone should get their first view of the city. Once you’re there, it’s nowhere near as daunting and scary as you thought it would be. You’re part of it. That huge, huge thing only seems small on a postcard. And you’re part of it.

About an hour later, we found ourselves in NYU’s gymnasium, looking around at all of the other incoming freshmen and their parents, extended family, and friends. Everyone I came in touch with that day, whether it was tour guide, a staff member, or a financial aid officer, was incredibly helpful, kind, and understanding of how different NYC really is than my hometown. Weekend on the Square settled all of my doubts about going to school in NYC. I feel like I left, but my heart is still there, waiting for me to catch up.

NYU's Welcome Week Opening
NYU’s Welcome Week Opening

I spent the morning learning more about my school, and then I spent the afternoon discovering the heart of New York City. We saw the 9/11 Memorial, which arguably has more security than an airport. But, once you actually get in, the waterfalls and the memorial itself are really, really incredible. We also got to see Chinatown (or, rather, hear it, because that’s really what the essence of Chinatown is). And then, finally, we headed off to what Dawn and I considered the most exciting part of the trip.

Times Square.

It was so much smaller than I thought it would be. You see this grand thing on television and you think that that is what it really looks like in person but, you actually don’t feel very small. Times Square wasn’t my favorite thing. It was crowded to the point where large groups have to set a gathering point because there’s no way you’ll all stay together, the shortest wait for a popular restaurant was close to three hours, and merchants are EVERYWHERE.

We finally escaped to the less crowded side-streets that make up the Broadway community. Dawn just about died when she heard Ramin Karimloo singing through the lobby of the Les Miserables theatre. Then we just about died again when my mom said, “Don’t look now, but that’s the Phantom of the Opera in his break room.”

And Christine. She forgot that part when she saw them through the window of the theatre.

Times Square
Times Square

That was about where our night ended. We took the subway back to our car, which we were terrified had gotten towed because we actually managed to find free parking (apparently expensive parking is more of a thing in Detroit where there are actually parking lots. I don’t remember seeing a single parking lot in Manhattan).

And then the drive home happened. The staying up all night and keeping my mother awake because she was driving while everyone else slept in the back. Then Dad and Jack would take over, then Mom and I again.

At one point, we went into a gas station and I must have looked pretty rough. I was still really sick and tired (after all, it was 3 in the morning and I had severe Bronchitis, I just didn’t know it). There was a police officer in the gas station where I’d gone in to buy more crackers (the salt supposedly helps keep your throat moist). The cop took one look at me and said, “How are you doing tonight, ma’am?”

Dawn and I (Pre-Haircut) That apple juice next to me was keeping me alive.
Dawn and I (Pre-Haircut) That apple juice next to me was keeping me alive.

I mean, in this completely sympathetic, I-feel-so-sorry-for-you voice. It actually kinda shocked me. But I couldn’t say anything because my throat was so dry, so I just kind of nodded back.

After I bought the crackers and was getting ready to leave, he said, “You have a good night now, ma’am, okay?”

Wow. You know you look bad when an officer feels that bad for you.

Again, I nodded and gave a slight smile (although, really, at the time I thought he was going to ask me if I’d been drinking or something), then walked out the door and back to the car.

All in all, it was an interesting first trip. When we arrived home the next morning, I died until about 1pm just before Katie and I needed to leave for the show.

In my life, you just never stop moving.

UPDATE: After being officially diagnosed with Bronchitis, Cassie was prescribed with a temporary inhaler, medication, and pills. She is alive and well, and still blogging today.

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Registering for Classes: Too Many Decisions

Okay, listen. Registering for classes at any university is like choosing a flavor at Baskin Robbins. Like, it isn’t even fair. Especially when your college includes multiple different schools that you can take classes from and you have a list of required courses to meet your core curriculum.

I’m enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences at NYU, where their Journalism program, as well as most science and sociology programs, is located. But there’s also a few other major schools: Stern (the school of business), Steinhardt (the school of culture and education), and Tisch (the school of the fine arts). At least, those are the four you hear about most often.

I had a huge internal struggle about which school I’d been accepted to in February. If you know me at all, science is the very last subject I’d ever want to study at length. I’m not interested in a career in mathematics or psychology. I’ve always put a huge focus on writing, education, directing, singing, and journalism. Part of me thought that I really belonged in Steinhardt. After all, they offered majors much more up my alley. Another part of me thought I should have been a grand slam for Tisch; I spent four extensive years in our drama program at Howell, one of those spent directing a play that I wrote.

In fact, it wasn’t until I toured the campus myself that I actually realized that the admissions officers knew what they were doing (you’d think it was their job or something) and put me in the right school.

When I filled out my application, do you know what field I put down as my intended major?

Dramatic Literature.

I literally have no idea why that made it onto my application and, to this day, I don’t remember ever wanting to study literature rather than write it myself. But, somehow, that intended major got me put in the right school with the right majors: English and Journalism.

Once I heard the journalism students talking about their major and all of the opportunities that the College of Arts and Sciences has to offer, I felt much more at ease. I ended up feeling like everyone else got ripped off; CAS is so diverse!

So when the time came to look at the CAS Core Curriculum, I was ready to pay my dues. The list actually isn’t too bad: one math class, two science classes, two years of a foreign language, an expository writing class, a texts and ideas class, and a cultures and contexts class (the last three of which I’m already interested in anyway).

Every freshmen is also required to take a lecture. Options were given to us about a month ago, and I managed to snag one that I’m really excited about: History, Memory, and the Quest for Social Justice in the United States (try saying that eight times).

When you’re scheduling for your freshmen year, especially if you’re moving to a big city to start school, you’re going to want to leave yourself time to get to know the area. I could take 18 credits of classes my first semester, but I settled on 16 and a Friday free of classes after 9:15 in the morning so I would have time to explore. Don’t worry, you get time to dive into schoolwork later (or so says my counselor).

So I settled on three additional classes: French I (if I don’t start a foreign language now, I may never get to it), Expository Writing, and a Statistics course. That knocks three required courses out of the way, but still gives me something to look forward to.

Looking through the catalog was probably the most stressful thing ever. Not only do you have to pick the classes you want to take but, once you’ve done that, you have to find days that fit your schedule, don’t overlap one another, and give you enough time to walk between instructional periods (even after three hours of searching, I still ended up with a 10 minute interval between French and Expository Writing on Thursdays). But, hey, you’re never going to get the perfect schedule. I’m sure every college student’s ideal schedule looks something like this:

Monday: No Classes

Tuesday: Classes from 11-5

Wednesday: Classes from 11-5

Thursday:  Classes from 11-5

Friday: No Classes

Long weekends, late mornings, free evenings. Every college student’s dream.

But the reality just doesn’t match up with the courses left open to you once the upperclassmen have attacked.

Still, having less flavors doesn’t make the ice cream you end up tasting any worse, right?

Dorming in New York City

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Way too much shopping for my own good

When you dorm at NYU, you dorm HARD.

Picking a dorm is just about the most excruciatingly difficult decision I have ever made.

First of all, NYU students have it made. Students get a private bathroom for every single room (apartment or traditional style), a real mattress (not the excuses for mattresses that they have at some colleges…yes MSU, I’m still mad at you for that summer camp dorm room), and the ability to invite guests to stay in their “New York City apartment” (I mean, come on. Who isn’t going to try to pull that card?). I mean, you’re paying for what you get with the added cost of housing (between $12K-$17K on average), so you have to take advantage of it.

That being said, deciding between dorms is a rough business. I finally narrowed it down to Third North and U-Hall (two apartment-style dorms near Union Square that are about 12 blocks away from campus), and Brittany (a traditional style dorm just as far away from campus, but completely worth it because, guess what, there’s a ghost).

I won’t know which dorm I’ll get or how many roommates I’ll have until mid-July. NYU has a theory that, if you room with people from different states that you don’t know, you’ll be more diverse in your college decisions. This means you can’t request a roommate. Period. So this is going to be a new experience for me. I’m a pretty cool roommate though…I think…

Point is, when you’re thinking about a dorm, you have to decide what theme you want. After all, these are your dorm decorations and furniture for the next four years (you don’t get grad money annually so, unless you have a secret FBI job that I don’t know about, you probably can’t afford a new style every year).

My Howell friends (Dawn, Kayla, Danny, and Ani) pretty much swear that I’m the only human being to have a theme for my dorm room.

After stepping foot in several stores and witnessing the endless wracks of dorm room sales, I had no response to that.

……….

So, anyway, I decided to go with a black and white theme. That way, even if my interests change over the years, I haven’t picked anything too out there.

Now I’m an extreme bargain shopper. But bargain shopping for a dorm room is particularly difficult. After a lot of hard searching, I got a set of bedding, a comforter, two extra pillowcases, two pillows, a mattress protector, a mattress pad, and a throw blanket for around $60.

I highly suggest Walmart for bedding. Bed, Bath, and Beyond has some great options, but the amount of money you pay just isn’t worth it. If you really want to shop there, though, you can get a 20% off coupon on one item if you join their e-mail club. That’s how I got my blow dryer for $15.

I decided on Walmart’s t-shirt soft black linens (if you’ve never used t-shirt soft sheets, you’re missing out on the best sleep of your life). Walmart is also great for kitchen supplies, towels, and bathroom fixtures. You can literally get drinking glasses for, like, 97 cents each. And I got a new alarm clock for $3. Completely worth it.

Target was perfect for pillows and rugs. I got the softest rug on the planet for $20 at Target. And, when you have wood for your dorm room floor, you’re going to appreciate that rug more on a cold day than you appreciate the pizza delivery guy.

If you want affordable decorations like the boxes you see in the picture, go to Michaels. I got between 10 and 12 spring storage boxes of various sizes and shapes for $50. They’re perfect for dorm room storage, and they’re currently on sale for 50% off. Michaels has amazing deals on pretty much everything, including lamps and furniture. Click here for some really great coupons.

The Vizio TV was purely based on luck. I’m not very much of a party animal, but going to that Senior All Night party after graduation and being entered into their giveaway was apparently worth the societal strain.

My roommates may still like me yet.

My Aha Moment

On Valentine’s Day, 2014, I received the most exciting news of my life.

That I’d been accepted to New York University on a $41,000 yearly merit scholarship.

I pretty much died.

If you’re familiar with New York University, you know what a challenging college it is to attend. It ranks as the #1 school for celebrities, the #6 school for journalism education (my major), #4 on the Huffington Post’s list of dream schools, and has a 2012 acceptance rate of 35%. It also scored #56 on Forbes’ list of Top Colleges, and has been a contender within the top 100 for years.

But, as a hugely important footnote, there’s one other thing you have to understand. New York University may rank #56 on Forbes, but it is also the second most expensive school in the United States. This is more costly than any Ivy League school, and only ranks below Sarah Lawrence; another New York City college.

Prestige isn’t actually the major reason for  the extreme cost of tuition. New York University is so expensive because it’s located in the heart of Manhattan. When you pay to go to NYU, you’re really paying for the experience of living in the Big Apple.

This makes NYU little more than a dream school for most applicants because, even if you somehow get admitted, the average family isn’t going to be able to afford it. There’s a reason why it ranks highly as a celebrity-chosen school.

So when I sent in my application, just to see what would happen, I really didn’t expect my 3.86 GPA and 35th ranking in my class to do me any good.

On a side note, I was raised in Howell, Michigan, and attended school in the Howell Public School District since the 1st grade. I can’t stress enough how amazing the staff and administrative body at Howell really is (shout-out to Ms. Haskins, Ms. Malo, and Ms. Linhart for my letters of recommendation), but that’s a story for another post. It will take 2000 words to explain my debt to them.

The point is, regardless of it all, I didn’t expect to receive a positive e-mail. My family is happily middle-class, and has been for a very long time. I’d been declined admission at Columbia University and wait-listed at the University of Chicago (obviously, I have a thing for ridiculously expensive schools that are way out of my reach).  Later I was rejected from the University of Michigan, a school I’d always considered one of my safer choices as a Michigan native who only lives forty-five minutes away from campus.

So, in short, my spirits were running pretty low. I was wondering why I’d shot so high when I didn’t have the credentials (or finances) to back it up. I’d spent four years getting involved in every opportunity available to me at Howell High School,  but no one cared about the extra-curricular activities. They wanted geniuses; something I’ve never claimed to be. I didn’t score a perfect 36 on my ACT. I wasn’t even close to graduating with a 4.0.  I’d never taken a foreign language course because I was too busy with other commitments. The only AP classes I’d ever taken had earned me two 3’s and two 4’s. Not a 5 to my name.

And then, on Valentine’s Day, I got an e-mail that made me cry for close to two hours (and, surprisingly, it had nothing to do with romance). Not only did I get accepted to NYU…I had a financial aid package offered to me that actually made it possible to go to school all four years.

I can’t stress enough how blessed and honored I am by the opportunity I’ve been given. I’ve spent the last five months wondering how this happened to me but, once I toured the NYU campus in April (my first time in NYC) and talked to a few counselors, I realized how extra-curricular oriented my new school really is. Every aspect that made me feel like I’d never fit in at a prestigious university made me feel more accepted in New York City’s Greenwich Village (one of the most beautiful and comfortable places I have ever been).

So this blog is for my family and friends (and anyone else who wants to join in for the ride). I’ll be posting pictures, updates, and experiences from my new life over the next four years. We can go through this journey together.

Leaving Howell, Michigan is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done. But joining a community of people just like me is a life-changing opportunity that I could not be more excited for.

I’m sure this is going to be an interesting trip. So follow my blog, let me know what you think and, I guess, here we go.

Welcome to Misadventures in the Big Apple.

Remembering Trevor Inman

Trevor
Trevor and girlfriend Jaclyn

“Tell me about Trevor.”

“Weird.” Was the word that came from ten year-old Emily Inman.

This brought on a giggle between her and her mother, Nicole, who sat next to her in Crepe Studio, both of them drinking bubble tea.

“He was funny and he was smart.” Nicole adds to her daughter’s statement, still with the whisper of a laugh. “He loved to dance. Like he would come running into my room dancing and singing. But, when my older son got married, neither him or Jordan would dance at the reception.”

Jordan Inman, 18, is Trevor’s twin brother.

“He was a good kid.” Nicole says of Trevor. “He ran track and he had just bought a bicycle. He and Jaclyn were planning on going to Eastern, both of them for nursing.”

Jaclyn Kucera, also 18, is Trevor’s girlfriend of almost four years.

“He liked ramen noodles.” Emily adds. “Tell her the ramen noodle story.”

“He was always, like, spilling things.” Nicole said, nodding at her daughter. “He was messing around in the kitchen one day and was pounding the ramen noodles and they flew out all over the floor. And he looks at Jordan and the first thing he says is, ‘Don’t tell Mom’. And, of course, Jordan was filming him.”

Many stories about Trevor link him with Jordan. The two both graduated together from Howell High School, they had the same circle of friends, and they even shared a bedroom.

“I always knew when they were fighting because they could be in the bedroom and you could hear them talking and then, all of a sudden, it would be silent.” Nicole says. “And that’s when you knew.”

Both girls laugh at this.

“Everybody loved him. He was just the kid that always smiled.”

Around 8 p.m. on June 6, 2014, the time in Howell, Michigan stopped.

Just six days after the commencement of Howell High’s Class of 2014, Trevor Inman, one of the recent graduates, passed away from injuries suffered in a fatal car accident that took place on Latson Road.

Students watched the local newspaper page in horror, waiting on baited breath for the updated story. Our fingers were sore from hitting refresh on our Twitter feed. Hundreds of condolences, reactions, and heartbroken grievances filled our timelines. The student body was in a state of shock, because we’ve lost before, but it was never quite like this.

It was almost as if the seniors had never actually graduated. We were all one big group of kids, and we were all growing up very, very fast. And we were all in the nightmare together.

Trevor and brother Jordan
Trevor and brother Jordan

Few of us slept that night as frantic messages were passed from teacher to student, from friend to friend, from neighbors to family, everyone wanting to know what had happened. Many of them wanting to hear that it wasn’t true.

And, if we did sleep, it wasn’t without tears.

“I met him once.” Howell graduate, Taylor Tourangeau, says. “He was very nice, very sweet…he always had a smile on his face. He cared for his friends and family, and always took pictures with his brother Jordan or Jaclyn. He never stopped caring…he was someone everyone knew.”

It seems Trevor influenced the lives of many.

“Trevor was a goof ball.” Jaclyn says. “He had such a sense of humor and loved making other people happy. He was the nicest person I have ever met. He was very loving and would do anything for the people he cared about. He always had a smile on his face.”

Jaclyn, a recent graduate of Howell High, is one of Trevor’s biggest advocates, posting almost daily on Twitter and Facebook feeds about how much Trevor meant to her.

The couple started their relationship in the first few weeks of their freshman year. Most people don’t believe in high school relationships, but spend one moment with Jaclyn Kucera and there will be no doubt in your mind that these two lovebirds were soulmates.

“On the first day of school, he sat in front of me.” She says. “He always asked to use my pencils, and of course I was going to let the cute boy in front of me borrow one…we had that movie relationship that everyone wishes they had. Trevor was honestly the perfect boyfriend, and he did everything for me.”

“The plan was for us to have a movie night at my house.” She explains, sharing that they had just gotten back to her car from a date night when the accident occurred. “We told each other that we loved each other and kissed goodbye. As I got in my car, Trevor yelled to me to hurry up and not dilly-dally and take all day. We both laughed and he pulled away. That was the last time I heard my boyfriend talk and heard him laugh.”

And then, Jaclyn shared one of the most devastating moments of her life.

“As I started to back up, I saw Trevor pull out of the parking lot and get hit by the truck. He wasn’t looking down, he just didn’t see the truck coming. When I finally got over to Trevor in his car…I knew things weren’t good.”

“They still haven’t finished the investigation.” Nicole says. “He wasn’t texting, he wasn’t drinking. He just evidently didn’t see the guy. They don’t know whether or not speed was a factor.”

Trevor was just like you or me. He loved the Detroit Red Wings and was a big fan of the University of Michigan. He wanted to meet Denard Robinson. He was planning on attending Eastern Michigan University for Nursing, and wanted to have a family. Trevor was known by name at the local Taco Bell, and enjoyed Speedway Icees. He had dreams and ambitions. He was just a kid.

Trevor and girlfriend Jaclyn
Trevor and girlfriend Jaclyn

“He accomplished everything he put his mind to.” Jaclyn says. “And it had to be perfect. He was very smart. He was such a good kid, he never got into trouble. He was an amazing runner and he loved the Tour de France. He had just bought a street bike and he dreamed of biking everywhere.”

Even those of us who only met Trevor a handful of times through mutual friends or school functions knew that he was a great kid. The pain felt by the student body was unbearable, and that felt by Jaclyn and the Inman family is unimaginable. It is hard for us to grasp the idea that, when these people said goodbye to him that night, they didn’t realize it would be for good.

“If I could talk to Trevor one last time, I would just want to tell him how much I love him and give him one more hug and kiss.” Jaclyn says. “I would want to thank him for everything he did for me and for allowing me to fall in love and enjoy high school with him. He made me the happiest girl in the world and he showed me how good life can be…and I am going to make him proud.”

The grieving process for Jaclyn and the Inman family has been a long and difficult one, as it is for any family who has gone through the trauma of losing a child unexpectedly.

“You just never think it’s going to happen to you.” Nicole says.

But Trevor Inman was a bright light worth remembering. His family and friends often share memories of him with a smile on their face, reminiscent of the one he always wore.

“He was always forgetting something.” His mother says. “He actually came home from his friend’s house once without his shoes.”

“Once, he lost his keys cause he put them on the key rack.” Emily says, giggling.

“Yeah,” Nicole laughs. “He actually put something where it belonged and then couldn’t find it the next morning.”

When I thanked Nicole and Emily for talking with me and they left the coffee shop, I stood in awe of the amount of strength this family is showing in light of something truly, truly terrible.

We all lost someone important that day but, like Jaclyn and his family, we will all do our best to remember him the way he would have wanted. With a smile on our face.

 

See what Howell students had to say about Trevor here.