Recently, I went home for the first time since leaving for college.
It was bizarre.
Going home for the first time is a bit of a surreal experience. You see the little town where you grew up, the place where you cried over your math exams, your high school hangout spot, and the people you spent all of your time with. You see the field hockey fields you used to spend hours playing on and you notice the way the sun shifts so perfectly as it melts into the sky. And you miss it. You even reminisce a bit: about your old friends and your old life that you left behind for college.
I felt nostalgic driving down the same streets that I grew up on, the paved roads lined with the English-styled homes. It was reminiscent of the months spent in quarantine, where my sisters and I rollerbladed up and down the streets. Everyone was outside that summer. We would wave “hi” to our principal and my tenth grade English teacher. It was a small little bubble that my mother forced us to explore that summer.
How I missed my car. Living in the city, I take ubers and the subway. But the control of driving your own car and getting to pick your own music gives you a new appreciation for driving. I passed my friends’ houses and my old high school. They actually rebuilt my high school the year after I left, so there wasn’t much to reminisce about. This part was hard. While they were building the new one I hadn’t thought it was a big deal. But looking back, it is as though my high school experience was a figment of my imagination. There was no more concrete reminder of my late nights spent studying or my many mental breakdowns.
When you are away from school you forget about home. You forget about the warm, home-cooked meals, the high water pressure showers, or even just a bathroom where you can shut the door and pee in peace.
To be honest, after returning to college I felt a little down. I missed my family and my mom coming into my room to tell me about her day. I missed my puppy coming to greet me after a night out and eating my dad’s chili at midnight. I missed dinners at my grandparent’s house and sleepovers at my neighbors. I missed the familiarity of the city I once called home. But the good news is, you can create a new family at college, a new home. You can create a new life for yourself where you are in control. You’re learning about how to take care of yourself and how to make a schedule that works for you. It’s pretty great, this college thing. But it’s also nice to go back to your roots and remember where you came from, and how that has shaped who you are now.