On Having Two Different Lives: The Transition Between Home and School

When I packed up my bags last August to go to Kenyon College, all of the goodbyes from family and friends were followed by them telling me how I was going to love my new college life. They were right: although I had a rocky start here on the hill, by second semester I loved Kenyon. Before I knew it, May had come around and it was time for me to move back to Virginia.

On my way home, I felt excited yet, but still wondered, what would my life look like living at home again? Nine hours later I was back in Virginia. I came home to my bed made, all of my favorite foods in the pantry, and two parents ecstatic to have me home.  Soon after arriving home I got a job at Nike and started spending my free time hanging out with friends and family. Yet, weeks later I still did not feel settled at home. I felt that the Williamsburg I remembered was different than the town I came home to this summer. However, throughout the summer I realized that it wasn’t the town that had changed, I had changed.

When I entered my freshman year I suddenly had new responsibilities and freedom. I felt that freshman year caused me to mature because of these new changes, but I also knew that was not the only reason for my change. I found that the reason why I changed was that I had become a product of my environment. When on campus, my friends and I discussed our coursework, books we were reading, problems around the globe and our own personal goals. I had become surrounded by people who loved school and who were all highly motivated. My friends and peers valued my dedication to my studies and always wanted to know about my classes.  

Back home, I would not be having the same conversations with friends and people I knew back home. Not due to their inability to contribute to the conversation, but because we simply had different interests. My interests had simply changed.  Even my wardrobe and appearance had changed. I no longer wore J. Crew chino shorts and polo button-ups to class. Instead, I wore Birkenstocks and looked more like an artsy college student. In a very traditional town, my six new piercings, and alternative appearance stood out. Imagine if I wore on campus what I used to wear at home, I would stick out all the way from across campus.

I found myself feeling like I was living two different lives. Both of my lives held so many people that loved and cared about me. While I loved my new life, I could not help but think that maybe those back home lost the old Margo. Then, I realized maybe this was me all along. This really was me. Before I had simply just not become who I truly was. It took me all summer to realize this, but finally as I headed back to campus a week and a half ago, I was at peace with my two worlds.

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