Returning Home
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Returning Home

What it's like to go back home after starting college.

Returning Home

Last week, I had my first break from college. After almost two straight months living in Ithaca, I packed my bag and boarded the bus heading home, wondering what it would be like to be back where I grew up after spending my longest time yet away.

In the last few weeks beforehand, some questions floated around in my head every now and then. Would it feel weird to come home in the middle of whatever new routine my family had settled into now that I wasn't home to drag them all over the place for rehearsals and concerts? Had I gotten used to my new surroundings enough where the old wouldn't feel as familiar? Had I already exhausted all my best stories over FaceTime calls? How would I fare in conversations when all I could talk about was all this community that was so unfamiliar to them- especially in comparison to my old school system, where my sister still goes and both my parents are so involved in? How would my new independence (though definitely not that substantial after just two short months) mesh with my family after I had been so dependent on them not so long ago?

I'm fortunate enough to have a home life that I love. So though there were a lot of thoughts like those in the back of my mind, most of what I was feeling was excitement to see my favorite people again, especially as the break grew closer. I think I forgot how comforting it is to be around people who know you so well. Getting in the car at the bus stop and getting to be with my family for the first time in a while left no room for any more questioning or uncertainty. As soon as I laid my eyes on them, things seemed to easily fall into place.

Suddenly, I was gushing stories about everything that had happened in the two or so weeks since we had last spoken (my worries about having little to talk about turned out to be totally unnecessary), letting myself feel totally present in my enthusiasm about everything- the people I was telling them about, the incredible experiences I'd had, looking out the window at all these buildings I recognized, and just being with them. It was like that all weekend, basically.

Driving onto my street and going in my house for the first time didn't feel as weird as I'd heard people say it might be, either. Everything, unsurprisingly enough, looked exactly as I had left it. It was so easy to get right back into the flow of things, with only a few noticeable differences: one is a private bathroom (I missed them so much after living in a dorm) and the other being a fresh sense of motivation to spend time with my family as much as I could, which was obviously not at all a problem for me.

Even visiting my high school for a little bit felt so natural. There were some things I had expected to be significantly less exciting about it, and rightfully so, but I got to visit the band department, which had been my second home for the four years I'd gone to school there, and it was a similar sensation. Sitting in on rehearsal and chatting in the band office, where my peers and I had hung out with our directors on a daily basis, felt almost like I had never left. The percussion mallet bags hung off the same hook on the wall, the same boxes of solo repertoire stood in the shelves, mostly all of the same photos sat on the desks- it was all just how I expected it to be. But the sense of happiness I felt was so much more than that.

Because here's the thing- though my perception of myself changed while adjusting to college, the view of myself held by those who supported me for all those years back home didn't. I came home to the same warm, familiar people I had left, and it was so comforting. They had said to me themselves how excited they were for me while starting this new college chapter. Seeing them again after having a taste of it and getting to tell them a little bit about it was the best. And though the excitement of a new start in college is so entrancing, the people who you know still have your back and who you know love you for all that you are remain just as wonderful to have in your corner.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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