I think one of the most unifying feelings while being a college student is the point in the semester after Thanksgiving when you return back to school to take finals. It's only two weeks, but it feels like an eternity. Everyone's brains are fried from working so hard since August, most of us have not been home during the semester, and typically everyone is just doing what they need to do in order to make it to Winter break.
This Winter break was filled with spending time with family, some much needed relaxation, and the realization of outgrowing of my hometown. Within the past year, I have matured quite a bit and finally come to terms with the notion that I am in fact in my 20's and not still 15 years old. I used to be terrified of outgrowing of my small town because for my entire life it's all I've known. Riding down backroads, late nights walking around Walmart, and Friday night football games were what I grew up with and it was scary for me to think that it wouldn't always be there. However, one of the greatest things about leaving home to go to a big Univeristy is the different people you're able to meet. I've learned so much about other's and their lives which has taught me that there is life outside of the South. (Surprising, I know.)
Outgrowing aside, I think the hardest thing I have grappled with during this break is the internal struggle of allowing myself to believe that I have actually outgrown my small town. I'm an extremely emphatic person, most times to a fault, but for me to allow myself to think I'm better than this city has been very difficult for me. I mean, it's the city that raised me. It's seen me through all my phases, my good and bad days, the days I didn't cherish enough when they happened, and worst of all ... my side part phase.
This realization obviously did not come easy for me. Most of the time I thought, "Am I the problem?" "Am I moving too fast heading for a future that's unknown?" I was not ready to let go of the backroads, the stores, and all the places that hold such a special place in my heart. But that's just it -- they're in my heart. All this time I thought I was in the wrong for wanting to leave my hometown the first chance I had. Regardless if I knew what I wanted to do with my life, because let's be honest... none of us do (and that's okay) I had to leave this town to grow. I had to leave the comfort I had within this city to be able to stand on my own two feet. I will always be grateful for this city because it shaped me into who I am toady, but it's time for me to allow myself to flourish.