The Differences Between Going Home Freshman and Sophomore Year

I remember the first time I got to go home my freshman year of college. It was November, the week of Thanksgiving. I had taken a seven-hour train trip from Boston to Philadelphia, but it didn’t even matter to me—I was just grateful to be back home. Most of my high school friends had had fall breaks or at least been able to go home for a weekend since beginning their freshman year. I was one of the few who hadn’t laid in my bed for a good snooze or showered without shoes since August. You could say that as soon as I saw my Dad waiting for me at 30th Street Station, I was more than ecstatic.

I want to stress that I’m one of the lucky people who considers my freshman year of college to be a great time. I have a lot of friends who struggled their first year of school, and though there were hard times, I made it out knowing I had had the time of my life in that one year. However, by November, I was drained. I was upset by the time Thanksgiving break rolled around. It was the longest I had ever been away from home in my entire life. I needed a break.

One year later: sophomore year. Having a way better handle on college than I did a year ago, I wanted to compare how I was feeling in the two moments a year apart. Going home brings you a sense of relaxation and relief that you treasure as you grow older. I wanted to see what had changed between my first two years of school.

1. Planes, Trains, Automobiles

plane landing GIF by CBC

Anyone who knows me knows that I HATE flying. I absolutely detest it. Yes, I know that turbulence cannot technically bring a plane down, but that doesn’t stop me from gripping the armrests every time the plane hits the smallest of bumps. This year, however, I was over the seven-hour train trip I took every single break my freshman year. I wanted to be home in an hour, not see the ugliest parts of New England (Sorry, Connecticut) in an endless loop. Sophomore year, I faced my fears—all in the name of convenience, of course.

2. Need a break vs. Wanting a break 

dead fuck my life GIF

My freshman year, I was so emotionally and physically tired by Thanksgiving that I literally needed a break. I wanted to go home and not feel like I had to have a handle on everything for once. Though I liked BU, I absolutely needed time away. This year, that was different. Though I wanted a break—because please, who doesn’t like pretending they don’t have homework—I didn’t need it. I felt good enough about my place here that though I loved the three days off, they weren’t a necessity to me. Also, knowing that winter break is a short month away has really motivated me until the end of the semester.

3. Relationship with my parents 

oscars 2015 parents GIF by The Academy Awards

In high school, I was your typical moody teenager. Though I do think some of my fights with my parents were warranted, I believe it takes time away from them to gain some clarity and see that they truly want the best for you. Freshman year, I was still gaining that clarity—especially with my Mom, who I always viewed as overprotective. Now in my sophomore year, I trust my Mom more than anything. She is the person I can turn to with any problem, and we have a better relationship now than we ever did when I was in high school. I really valued break because I got to spend time with her, and forget for a little bit about my responsibilities back at school.

4. Grateful to be home 

grateful audrey hepburn GIF by The Academy Awards

Again, this is a feeling that is just escalated in your sophomore year. Though I definitely appreciated getting to go home my freshman year, my sophomore year I’m beginning to value the chance to be at home a lot more. This is due to the fact that from now on, I will be either taking classes in the summer or going abroad. For the next couple of years, I won’t be at home for more than a month at a time. Now that I’m a sophomore, I appreciate this opportunity to relax a little bit more.

5. Excitement 

This is one thing that hasn’t changed. I remember at a party with my high school friends during my freshman year Thanksgiving break, I told them all how excited I was to go back to school. And that rang true again during my sophomore year as well. Though I appreciate being home, I also appreciate my second home at BU. Going to college gives you a second home to miss when you’re not there. And that’s something I’m endlessly grateful for.

Going home is always an experience to be grateful for. Whether you love seeing your family and friends, or you just like going home to get a good few nights’ sleep and to binge-watch some shows, it’s a time of relaxation. I’ve learned a lot in my first few years of college, and being grateful for a break at home is one of those lessons.

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About The Author

Maddie is a sophomore majoring in journalism and public relations in the College of Communication at Boston University. Hailing from suburban Philadelphia, Maddie is incredibly happy to be back in Boston for her second year. This year, she's looking forward to spending all of her money on brunch, downing lots of coffee, and of course, writing for HerCampus. Outside of HerCampus, Maddie is involved with her sorority, community service, promoting BU as a tour guide and exploring all of Boston.