In 25 hours, I will be heading to the airport. I will be going home. I can’t wait! It’s kinda hard to concentrate on papers and reading and school when I can feel home. T-Swift’s “Never Grow Up” is playing in the background, I just got an invite to hang out with my friends on Saturday, and I can hear the laughter. I can almost feel my “little” cousin’s hug (he’s much taller than me!). In my mind, I’m home. So, the books on my bed are neglected (though I have read quite a bit today and my logic homework is almost done), and my gaze keeps going back to my suitcase.
As excited as I am to go home, it’s a weird feeling. Home isn’t my home anymore. I mean, it is, but not completely. It’s my parents’ home. It’s my sister’s home. But it’s more my big cousin’s home than it is mine. I’m certain he’s spent more time there than I have in the past four months (because I’ve spent 0 time at home!), and it’s going to be different. It’s going to be weird to wake up in my own room and not have roommates to laugh with. It’s going to be strange to not see my friends from school when I look out my window. It’s going to be bizarre to eat meals with only three other people, far from the chaos that is a college dining hall.
I didn’t want to grow up 4 months ago, but now I’m liking the growing up thing… at least when I’m at school. I’m comfortable living on campus, seeing my friends and professors, and leaving campus for church or just for a study break. It’s a tight-knit community, and I love it. I love my church here. I’m looking at becoming a member and hate to miss a Sunday. Yeah… I want to go home, spend time with my brothers and sisters at my home church, and get all the hugs I need to get my through to Christmas Break. But at the same time, I hate to be absent from my family here. Sure, lots of people will be gone, but… I’m a bit torn.
It’s a unique feeling, the first time you go home after you’ve been gone for four months. I’m not sure what to make of it. Different sounds, different smells. Different people, different food. Different atmosphere, different everything. Home isn’t college, but some days college feels a little like home.
Don’t get me wrong! I wouldn’t stay at school for Thanksgiving if you paid me! (Well, maybe if you paid for the rest of my college tuition for the next 3 1/2 years…) I’m EXCITED to go home. But I’m a little apprehensive. I know what happens. This time everyone will be thrilled to see me, to ask how school is, to spend time with me. But time erodes everything, and eventually, a few years from now, those friendships probably won’t be as close as they are right now. It’s possible that leaving for school won’t hurt as much as it did the first time. I’m not trying to be pessimistic or cynical. I’m just trying to deal with what I’ve observed. Everything has its season, and the seasons are changing. Maybe not for you just yet, but for me, the seasons are changing quickly. My life was turned on its head 4 months ago, and just when things were starting to settle, it’s time to switch things up again.
What an awesome roller coaster! What a fun time! Praise God for the blessing that is college, the uprooting that helps us grow, the support that still clings to our lives! I am so grateful that I can rely on family and friends even though they are far away. I’m thrilled that college doesn’t mean we instantly sever all ties, but that it gives us an opportunity to move into adulthood gently, to spend 4 years reading good books, and to learn to appreciate all that we took for granted for the past 18 years.