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I Missed My Parents: Reflections from My First Year at College

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

Well, I was wrong. I did miss my parents. 

At the beginning of the fall semester I wrote about the new, destabilizing phase of life I had found myself in. I was “growing away” from who I used to be. Not missing the girl that I was a few short weeks before and not experiencing any loss of those at home. 

I assumed I had written that piece out of confidence. I thought that I was empowering others to flourish in the way I had anticipated.

I reread that piece a few days ago and couldn’t help but think, what a liar. She was scared to admit the larger meaning of what leaving home meant. 

The first time that I really left home was for Senior Week. The night that I came back, sunburned and still sandy, I binged The Summer I Turned Pretty until the tears from the heart wrenching ending turned into tears of 1 A.M contemplations.

In a frenzy, I came to understand that I felt unsatisfied. I wasn’t satisfied with my high school career. Unsatisfied with the choices, people, experiences that I didn’t fully take on. I didn’t want college to leave me feeling that way. I vowed that in one year’s time that if I hadn’t felt like college wasn’t getting me to where I wanted, I was going to stop. 

I hadn’t grown up with examples of pursuits of higher education. I saw people succeed without the need of a degree, and I never put it out of the question for me not to go. 

Getting to this point, college, took a lot out of me. 

I grew up in the honors curriculum but had no idea where that trajectory was to launch me. I was lifted to a point as hazy as the clouds on graduation day. I applied late to colleges and didn’t receive the results I was expected to have met. When I was supposed to be writing my personal statement, I was daydreaming of leaving my town for a farm in the middle of nowhere; so that all I could be good for was reading, writing, and thinking. I vocalized these fearful dreams to my mom. She said I could do that, but she didn’t want me to waste my intelligence. 

Before Thanksgiving break of my first semester, I went to the highest and quietest floor of my school’s library to feverishly write in my journal my self-righteous concerns of not fitting in with the WCU student body. There were times where I felt like the smartest person in the room, which I was uncomfortable with. I expected to have rude teachers that would tell me that my work wasn’t good enough, pushing me to a brink and then to a platform of success. I was not getting that. I was struggling to find the people like me, the people my parents assured me existed here.  

I wrote, “I’m a few steps away from seriously considering transferring.” I was convinced that I was being forced to conform to others’ expectations of me when I had different standards. I had made plans to look into another school that better fit the more aggressive vision I had of my future. 

But I’m not rash. And I’m not confrontational.

I hung onto these exit plans throughout Thanksgiving and winter break without giving the slightest hint of dissatisfaction with my current situation. Not to my parents, my brother, or my best friend– my roommate. 

Part of the reason for this was that I didn’t want to disappoint others. I’m expected to graduate so that I can be the first in my family to do so. To prove that these genes have intelligence embedded, and to have them be applied.

I was scared to come back to school after the break. I had to brace myself for nothing to change. I expected to step back into the same mood defined by the music of Elliot Smith that flooded the fall. 

To max out my schedule to six classes I picked to take a Digital Journalism class in the spring. I was excited because maybe this class could help me decide more about my future. At the very last I could add some writing to my portfolio. 

On the first day, I scanned the class to only have my built up optimism shattered. All the doubts about the being in this class, this school began to seep in through the cracks of that shattered game plan.   

We were split up into groups for icebreakers, and this is when I learned why everyone was in the class. One classmate who shared my major, described how they just want to share people’s stories because even though everyone has a different one we are connected by simply having one. Those that didn’t have my major took the class because they were craving to come back to their love of writing. 

It finally happened. These were my people

What I didn’t know at the beginning of my first year of college was that the qualities I had been told would be useful– boldness and assertiveness– wouldn’t compare to the quality that actually paid off– patience. 

My one year trial is coming up, and it demands an evaluative report. And this was it. 

I thought that the only way to come out of this year successfully was to act on my predictions from the beginning: dropping out. But, I’m not stopping. I’m not going to waste my intelligence. You’re welcome mom, and I did really miss you (you too dad).

Ellie Perrin

West Chester '26

Ellie is a sophomore Media and Culture major with minors in Journalism and French at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She is the Vice President and Co-Senior Editor of WCU's HC Chapter. She is constantly scribbling in her "idea" journal her unique observations of the world and her role in it. With interests ranging from reading Fitzgerald to Vogue or from watching Shameless to Trisha Paytas Tiktoks, Ellie's writing comes from a holistic perspective. She is excited to use her world view for her writing and add to her portfolio.