What It's Like Going Home For The First Time After Starting College

During our student orientation, they recommended we stay on campus for 6 weeks before going back home to get accustomed to our new home. I stayed for 7. 

I’m not sure what the “norm” is, but as for all of the people I knew, 7 weeks seemed like a long time compared to everyone else. I think in a way I was nervous to go back home. I was nervous that I wouldn’t want to go back to school, and I was nervous that it wouldn’t feel like home anymore, and I was simply just nervous for the sake of being nervous. 

When I first got back to my hometown, it felt really strange. I felt out of place. The streets and landmarks were all so familiar yet so new at the same time. Immediately I wanted to return back to Athens for some reason. I felt like a visitor in my own hometown. The city that I was born and raised in for 18 years suddenly felt so unfamiliar. As I was driving through the city, I started to notice little differences from the time that I left. There was a new gas station down the street, the restaurant that had been under construction for 6 months was finally finished, the trees at the neighbor's house were finally trimmed. While I was noticing all of these little differences, I started to feel left out for some reason. it was weird to me that life was just going on as usual in my hometown without me being there - selfish, I know. But that was really how I felt! I felt like when I came back everything should be exactly how it was before I left, and that’s just not reality. 

My house felt strange as well. It still felt like home, but it was a different kind of feeling. It was very nostalgic and made me think of when I was younger and all the years I spent feeling like I would live there forever. Little things felt so unfamiliar like how short my bed was (compared to my lifted one at school) and how nice it was to shower without shoes on (a luxury I never appreciated enough)! And sleeping in my own room, which is funny because it felt a little lonely without a roommate there. 

Most of all, when I went home for the first time after going away to school was just this flood of feeling refreshed. It felt so nice to be in a place that was really mine. A place that I knew. A place I was comfortable with. 

While Athens is my new hOUme, my heart will always be tied to my hometown.