I can hear my Dad now, "Are you sure you want to go to school that far away?"
"Do you think you are prepared for the homesickness? Because as much as you think it won't happen to you, it will."
A year later, I'm kicking my young adult self for not thinking through those questions more thoroughly; and especially kicking myself for not listening to my Dad, because as much as it pains me to admit it...he was right.
Leaving for college is exciting, nerve-racking, but exciting. Picking out your dorm items; packing up your room. Move-in day is even more exciting. Finally getting to hang out with your new roommate, decorating your new space, going to dinner with your parents in this new, big, exciting city you just moved to. Next you get to walk all of your classes, get all of your school supplies prepared; praying the entire time that you don't get lost...but that's not when the homesickness hits you; not when you still have your mom there to give you a hug. It never happens like that, as nice as it would be if it did.
No the homesickness doesn't come until later. It doesn't get you until you're sitting in this big, unfamiliar room all alone already counting down the days until you get to go home again. Or until you're really missing all those wonderful people that remind you of why being from a small town is so much more special. You very quickly find yourself lying in bed at night wondering where your childhood went...because it went so fast.
It is far more than just "missing home." It's a feeling, a feeling where you think you should be loving this brand new city, but in the back of your mind you are secretly craving your little city...craving your comfort zone and everyone that is in it. And while growing up, living away from home, and navigating the unfamiliar on your own is a part of life; no one can begin to prepare you for how hard it will be. If I've learned anything in a year it's this:
1. There is absolutely no shame in missing home.
2. Tears are perfectly acceptable, and sometimes necessary.
3. Home will always be there waiting for you when you get there.