The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Summer vacation ended about a month ago, and we’re all feeling a ton of emotions. From excitement stemming from moving out for the first time, to anxiety from school starting again, September always comes with a whirlwind of emotions and feelings. Personally, I’ve started to love September after moving away from home. I value my independence, my friends and all the growth I’ve experienced from being on my own. As the year goes by and I go home from time to time, I’ve realized that being home can feel taxing at times, and this is why.
It’s an understatement to say that university comes with plenty of changes. Workload, friends, hobbies, it’s a drastic shift from who you once used to be. As we age and mature, we find ourselves and learn more and more about ourselves every single day—and what better place than away from home, somewhere that we’ve always known? University is a struggle a lot of the time but it’s also amazing because you get to see what your life is like with you in charge. You’re in charge of waking up, you’re in charge of what you eat and you’re in charge of your curfew. Doing all of these things teaches you to balance, self-discipline and how to be sufficient on your own. We never truly realize how much we’ve changed until we’re home, a place that hasn’t changed. You look around you and your parents are still working the same jobs; your dog still eats the same food and the convenience store across your house still sells the same things. It’s static, and we—as young adults—are so dynamic. It’s definitely uncomfortable and maybe even a little draining to feel so out of place and disconnected from what you’ve known all your life. Suddenly you feel like you’re 12 years old again and your parents are telling you when to come back home, and you’re getting into the same arguments with your younger sister. It’s like pressing play on a movie that’s been paused for hours. But here’s the thing—and when I tell you this, I want you to hold these words close to your heart; it’s okay. You don’t need to feel guilty. We love our families and hometown to the core, but it’s okay to not enjoy being in a place where you were so different. Being at home can remind us of the time we were someone else, maybe someone we didn’t like so much, or we feel like a child again, suddenly responsible for chores that we didn’t worry about away at school. But growth is a journey and it’s so natural and normal to feel a little bit out of place and a little bit alien to a place we once called home. After all, how can it be natural? We’re growing and changing so much in an incredibly short period of time, it’s almost impossible to fit in somewhere that hasn’t changed as rapidly as us.
So don’t worry if the idea of going home for reading week or Christmas break doesn’t excite you. It’s okay to be comfortable on your own, and it’s more okay to accept that you’ve changed. With time, switching between your ‘college’ self and your ‘hometown’ self gets easier and you learn to integrate both parts of yourself into one. Appreciate how much you’ve learned and don’t feel guilty; just feel your feelings and embrace all that you are.