Freshman year of college is more than a wild ride. Taking classes in subjects you did not even know existed, adjusting to life in a cramped dorm room, and meeting new people from all around the world become normal everyday activities. You get used to your new life as an independent college student immersed in your booming social life and stress-inducing studies, when all of a sudden, a little something called summer comes along.
What used to be the highlight of your year now brings a wave of sadness with it. While being home is a good time to relax and catch up with all your high school friends, it feels like a part of you is being left behind. The new friends you have made and the new experiences you have created come to a halt and everything feels different. Your life is no longer fully consumed by what you once called home, but rather by trying to keep in touch with the friends and possibly significant others from your new life. You went from starting over to jumping right back to where you were at the end of high school.
You feel as if you are juggling both your college life and home life, and nothing feels quite in place. All your friends have their own college experiences, and nothing from high school quite matters anymore. You realize that you are all growing up, and with growing up comes a myriad of new experiences, hobbies, and interests. You begin to grow apart from your old friends and then you realize that you will not be able to return to your independent life filled with self-discovery for three whole months.
You go from being with your friends constantly to wondering if you can still connect with the friends you once shared so many connections with. Of course, you will have the few best friends you knew you would never grow apart from, but your friend group of twelve starts to diminish. You no longer have a life surrounded by others your age, and you begin to notice the transition into adulthood somehow even more than you do while in school. In college, the excitement of being surrounded by like-minded people brings its own form of intellectual growth, but during summer, the realization that adulthood comes with loss begins to heavily sink in.
Summer has become more than getting a part-time job and going out with friends, for it has also become a time for self-reflection and appreciation. You begin to appreciate all the moments you get to have with your home and college friends because you never get to see everyone at once. You begin to appreciate the social butterfly you have become at school contrasted with the ample amount of alone-time you get at home. You begin to appreciate the mental stimulation of schoolwork contrasted with the relaxation of being home.
Although summer has just begun, the feelings of loss, as well as maturation, have already sunk in. Summer is a beautiful time of year filled with creating new memories with old friends, but when in college, it brings with it an unfamiliar level of depth, loss, and personal growth.