When I packed my life up into a few cardboard boxes and rode out of my hometown, I was filled with a plethora of feelings: fear, excitement, anxiety, sadness. I was leaving behind everything that had surrounded me for the last 18 years of life and moving onto an entirely foreign environment with people I had (more or less) never met. Humans are creatures of comfort and I not only wrested myself from my comfort zone, but picked it up and chucked it 800 miles away.
Yet somehow, I’ve survived my first week of college. Yes, I’ve survived my first week of college! I know, I’m still just a snot-nosed freshman and that I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, but I’ve been my own person for a whole week. I’ve registered for my own classes, fed myself, done my own laundry. As boring, mundane, and unspectacular as those tasks may seem, there’s a sense of pride in them. I am independent. I am my own person.
Yet, this place doesn’t feel like home. At least not yet. Sure, I have all my stuff moved into a space that I can call mine (or at least 50% mine) and sure I’ve gotten to know a whole bunch of people that I otherwise would never have even dreamed of crossing paths with, some of whom I even consider friends. Still, this place doesn’t quite feel like home. Everything is still too fresh, too new. The images of that green, two-story farmhouse still too richly ingrained in my mind’s eye to really be able to distance myself from it and realize that I will never be back there, or never be back in the same capacity as I was before college life.
As exciting and exhilarating as this first week has been, it has also painted everything with a different kind of pallor. Everything seems a tad “off” in the most effective way I can put it. Maybe it’s that I am trying to come to terms with detachment from my hometown or the adjustment to making this place my home. More likely than not it’s just the newness of everything that makes this strange “off-ness” permeate throughout my body, makes me quiver, makes me dread, makes me sick.
I know I’m being overdramatic. In another week’s time, or maybe a few weeks, I’ll have forgotten all about this feeling and will instead be so invested in my classes and clubs and friends that I won’t have time or reason to feel homesick or distressed.
But that doesn’t diminish the fact that my life can be packed up in a few boxes and tossed around like a ragdoll. That doesn’t diminish the fact that everything is still transient, everything is still taking shape, and as scary and compelling as it all is, the world is still abundant with opportunities and I still have every waking moment to go out and grab them by the horns.
All in all, it’s been a good time. All in all, I’ve enjoyed myself. Do I still hurt? Of course. Frankly, I might still get this feeling, twenty years down the road when I have a nice family, a nice house, and a nice job, this feeling of slipping, slipping, slipping down through the cracks. Yet, in those moments I’ll just hearken to my few simple boxes and Robin Williams’ dazzling performance in Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society: “what will your verse be?”.