Yes, I Go Home More Than Most College Students, Stop Making Me Feel Bad About It

Yes, I Go Home More Than Most College Students, Stop Making Me Feel Bad About It

Those four hours in my car driving back home are so therapeutic.
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I go home more often than most of my friends at college. I know this. I make the four and a half hour trip back to my tiny hometown from school usually around once a month, whether we have a break from school or not.

Sometimes, if there's a reason I need to be home for something, I go more often than that. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm from the middle of nowhere, I'm used to driving for a long time to get to pretty much anywhere I want/need to go.

I really enjoy being at home, just like I really enjoy being at school, so why do I feel bad about being in my hometown every time I'm there and it isn't a break from school? Why do I feel embarrassed about telling my classmates that I'm going home, feel like I need to justify it to them? I shouldn't have to do this, but I do because other people make me feel weird about how often I go home.

I get comments like "oh, you're going to be gone again?" and, "Hey, weren't you just here?" or, my personal favorite, "Don't you have work you need to be doing? How do you have time to come/go?"

You can see why this might be annoying, even if people mean well. Let me tell you why I go home so often.

There are several reasons, but one of the biggest is that most of my family lives in my hometown. I don't just mean my mom, dad, and sister, I mean my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, all of those people — and we're one of those families that's really close. I'm not going to not go see them regularly.

Another reason I go so often is because that's when I get to see my boyfriend of three-and-a-half years, who goes to college five hours away from my school. I also go because I like being home for big events, like the high school's big spring musical, which I used to be a part of, or the giant fall festival. I don't want to miss out on the things I loved about home just because I don't regularly live there.

But I think one of the biggest reasons I go home is actually because of UVA culture.

I love UVA. I love the people, the history, the tradition, the classes — everything. But it's a lot. The culture there is that you need to be perfect and you need to do effortlessly, even if you're actually dying inside. No one at UVA wears pajamas to class; everyone gets dressed and dresses up, even on casual days. Everyone came from the top of their high school graduating classes; four of the eight girls I live with were the valedictorian at their high schools and I have no doubt that that's pretty close to representative of the actual stats of who's on Grounds.

Everyone is smart. The classes are hard. You work hard, then you play hard, and you never let anyone see it if you can't keep up with that.

And, to be honest, sometimes I just need to get away from that.

Those four hours in my car driving back home are so therapeutic. They help me shake all of that off. There are times when I can almost physically feel a weight come off of my shoulders during those car rides by myself with the music blasting.

Then I get to my house where my mom is waiting to take care of me because she missed me and my dogs are jumping and barking because they missed me. Everything is just like it used to be, but different because I'm different, and I love that.

I come home a lot because sometimes the pressure of UVA culture is too much for me and I just really need to be away from it and be somewhere I'm not expected to be anything but myself for a little while.

So yes, I am going home again, classmate. Yes, person from home, I am back and, you know what, you're right — I do have work to do.

But let me worry about that. I can do work at home or work ahead before I come. I'm just happy to have somewhere I love so much to come back to.

Cover Image Credit: Michelle Tiller Photography

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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The College Experience

A series telling the true experiences of modern day college students.

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Everyone tells you to prepare for the best years of your life.

They tell you to prepare for all of the new challenges and new opportunities.

They say that you will meet your future people in college.

What they don't tell you is how much it will hurt.

Seeing old friends disappear because you are no longer home.

Watching your grades fall because the class is too difficult to pass.

Hearing and witnessing your family struggle and you aren't able to be with them.

Seeing all of the adventures that others are going on while you are stuck in your dorm room with the same stack of papers you have been trying to finish for three days now.

They don't tell you how difficult the transition will be.

They especially don't tell you how hard it is to live with someone.

The best of friends can live together and then grow to hate each other.

Complete strangers will move in and never speak.

You'll find friends that are simply just your "writing friend" or "band friend".

Many of the labels from high school can sometimes stick around.

If you're not out drinking or clubbing, then people think you don't have a life.

College is great, but don't think that it will be easy.

You have to make things easy in order for things to happen.

You can't just go around doing whatever and expect things to work out.

It takes time and it takes commitment to succeed in life, and in college.

The best way to deal with it all, find someone!

Find someone that you can get coffee with and watch sports with.

Find someone to eat dinner and lunch with.

Find someone to study religion and math before the next test.

Find someone!

Find your someone, a friend or someone special, to help you make it through everything that life throws at you.

If I had that someone I might have been better off my first year.

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