Going off to college we all know we’re going to miss things back home. Obviously, you’re going to miss all your friends, your dog, and your bed. You may not admit it, but you know you will miss your parents. You’ll miss their comfort, their cooking, and their wallets. You know you’ll miss your siblings and your favorite restaurant. But there are a bunch of things that you don’t realize you’ll miss until you’re a thousand miles away and have an intense longing to pet your best friend’s dog.
Most colleges don’t allow freshmen to have cars on campus, and there really is no need for them. Everything you need can be found on campus or a bus ride or Uber away. While it’s great that you won’t have to buy gas for the year, you are bound to start missing your car. The freedom you had to pick up friends for an ice-cream run. The power you had controlling the radio. The wind in your hair driving down to the beach with the windows open. Not to mention all the storage space your car brought -- it’s like you had a second closet. Coming home and sitting in the driver’s seat for the first time in months will bring you a weird, and much needed, sense of comfort.
2. Your Target
Oh, the wonderful world of Target. It literally has everything you could need, plus ten thousand things you never knew you needed. Getting to a Target while on a college campus can be a bit of a challenge. You will come to miss the convenience of driving down the road at 11 p.m. when you suddenly get a craving for Oreos. And if you do have a Target near campus, it’s like a foreign country. At home, you knew exactly where your favorite mascara was and which aisle the Doritos were in. Foreign Targets are confusing, and you’ll find yourself tempted to tell the manager to redesign their store because “the layout of my Target is much more convenient.”
3. Your gym
You knew what times your Planet Fitness at home was empty and what times it was packed, and planned your workouts accordingly. You also knew maybe six other people with memberships, who were rarely there at the same time as you. You had no problem using the elliptical next to the nice, older strangers. At college you really only have time to get to the gym in the evening, when everyone else is there too. When you get there, your options are either signing up for a treadmill time an hour from now or attempting the free-weights in front of the cute guy in your history class. No thanks.
4. Your friends' parents (and pets)
Missing your home friends is a given. But you can text, call, FaceTime, and even go visit them on a weekend if you’re close enough. It may not be quite as normal to FaceTime your best friend’s mom, but there is going to come a time when you want to. Over the years, your friends’ parents have become your second parents and you don’t realize just how much you’re going to miss their face, their snacks, and their cheesy jokes. On the same note, you knew you would miss your dog, but totally forgot to think about all your friends’ pets. They have become a part of your family too. So don’t feel weird if you find yourself texting your best friend’s dad for a picture of their golden retriever.
5. Your enemy
Everyone has one. That girl you were best friends with in elementary school but then turned into a total psycho in middle school. That guy that completely broke your heart. The kid that seemed determined to make your high school life a living hell. To whatever extreme, we all had that one person in high school we couldn’t wait to get hundreds of miles away from. But now that we are, we almost miss them in a weird way. Maybe we miss the familiarity of them or the perverse fun we had in competing with them, or the exciting, albeit annoying, amount of drama they brought to life. For whatever reason, this may be the most surprising part of home you miss, even if it only comes in a passing wave.
6. Your windows
No one ever spends the summer before college talking about how much they are going to miss their windows. But when it’s 85 degrees and your RA controls the heat for the entire building, you will be missing those glorious holes in your bedroom walls. Most dorm rooms have one window that is great for letting in natural light, but many of these windows are bolted shut for safety reasons. This makes your air conditioning unit, if you are lucky enough to have one, your only escape from the heat. This will make you realize how lucky you were to have those great windows at home that let in the nighttime fall breeze and let you hear the birds chirping on a spring morning. Enjoy your windows while you have them.
7. Your weather
If you go to college far enough away from home, you are going to have to adapt to a whole new climate. Some people even choose their college because of the weather. At home, you knew when to make the switch from flop flops to Uggs and when to break out the shorts in the spring. At school, these rules go out the window. You may end up wearing shorts for the entire nine months you’re there. Or you may need to get another jacket because your North Face just doesn’t cut it anymore. You’re going to find yourself missing the familiarity of “home weather” and your ability to decide what to wear without even having to check your weather app.
8. Your couch
Of course you knew you would miss your bed, and sleeping in it on breaks is one of the greatest feelings, but you may find yourself missing your couch even more. Come home from school, grab a snack, sit on your couch. Have friends over to watch a movie, sit on your couch. Too tired to make it upstairs after a long day, sleep on your couch for the night. At college, there is no couch. Seating options in your dorm are usually your desk chair and your bed, and maybe a small accent chair. That means your bed is no longer just for sleeping. It’s where you and four friends squeeze to watch TV and where you do homework and sometimes where you eat. You begin to miss having that separate space to sit and relax without the intense desire to fall asleep.
9. Your local lingo
Most people have lived in the same town, with the same people, for the last 18 years, and whether you realize it or not, you’ve developed your own kind of language. Every high school has its own slang. Nicknames for teachers, names of certain hangout places in the neighborhood, adjectives, and expressions that only your friends understand. Not to mention all the regional slang you’re leaving behind if you go away to school. At college, you will often find yourself saying things only to get blank stares from your new friends. They’ll be super confused when you say you’re “tight” about the C you got in chemistry. And have no idea what a BEC is (bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, duh.) You’re going to miss hearing these familiar words all around you, so say them as much as you can before you go.
So before you go off to college, be sure to soak it all in -- the good and the bad. Pay attention to the small things because you never realize just how much you’ll miss them when they’re gone.