After finishing the last final of my freshmen year, I headed home. I was welcomed with open arms and an outpouring of love. While I, of course, went back to my parents' house, that's not exactly the home I'm talking about. A few hours after moving back into my childhood bedroom, I found myself at the airport. Instead of flying with my family, I would be taking my first solo trip to one of my favorite places.
No, I wasn't headed to Europe or a lush beach in South America. In fact, I wasn't even leaving the country. After an almost two hour flight, I found myself in the lovely state of Connecticut.
I was born in Connecticut and lived there until I was 7 years old. In 2007, my family of four moved to North Carolina and has been there ever since. One thing that remains constant is our shared love for our home state. I can't even begin to count the number of times we've made the trip up to Connecticut and back (exclusively by car, courtesy of my dad).
The majority of our extended family still live in Connecticut so trips were frequent and jam-packed with people to visit. We have a big family, so every visit was a party. Going to Connecticut has been such a staple of my childhood, and going multiple times a year became the norm.
When I started college, it felt a little bit like I had crawled into a hole for 9 months: the town of Chapel Hill became my world. Even though I saw my parents and sister almost every weekend, I felt like I was missing something. While I studied in my dorm room, my family continued their voyages to Connecticut without me. When finals came around, I knew exactly where I was headed.
Everyone changes when they go to college. You learn more about yourself than you ever have before and hopefully become better for it. As positive as all these changes can be, it's easy to feel drained and a little lost. Staring your future in the face is never easy. In times of changes, I always find it valuable to go back to your roots.
Feeling the unconditional love and joy my family always surrounds me with reminded me of why I'm doing all of this in the first place. Getting my degree, making it through medical school, and eventually getting a job are all a means to an end. The goal has been and always will be family: strengthening it, supporting it, cherishing it, and (hopefully one day) adding to it. Sometimes, you just need to recharge your battery.
And that's exactly what I did.