It’s Sunday night back at school and I’m laying in bed reminiscing on all the of memories from the past weekend, visiting some of my favorite people with all the rest of my favorite people visiting too. I feel the way I always do when I get back to school after getting back after a long weekend reunited with all of the people I have been counting down the days until I finally see them again—sad, tired. I began thinking about how similar the feeling is every time I come back on a Sunday after leaving for the weekend. I thought about how every week after being back is like starting over for a second. You know you’re happy to be back and love where you are, but part of you feels like you’re in the wrong place because you are missing so many of the people you love the most, and who play such an important role in your life.
It got me thinking—college is a weird concept. You grow up and build a life of connections with everyone in your town. You build friendships you swear are inseparable and live every day, every weekend, and every memory with them. You have years’ worth of history and millions of memories. You experience everything with each other—from the awkward middle school stage, throughout the journey of finding who you are by the end of high school. Then you graduate, and you realize you forgot there would come a point that you all have to go your separate ways; you forgot that these inseparable bonds have to be scattered across the state, the country, all in hopes that you stay connected while finding a new path and discovering where you belong in different places.
Your first year of college comes. Everything takes getting used to, you miss the people that you called your own, and things feel weird for a while. You begin to make new friends—friends you can’t imagine your life without now. You see your hometown friends over break, and things seem to go back to normal with some, while others you realize you may never talk to again. You laugh at the memories, count down the days until you see each other again, until the next visit or the next break, and you go back to school knowing you made it and your friendship was going to last despite the separation.
Then summer is here before you know it. You miss your college friends this time and being able to walk to tell them whatever tragedy just happened to you. But your are happy to have your friends back in the same little town again—reliving the same kind of memories that you had left behind the previous summer.
You go back to college after your first summer back home with everyone. Things take time again, but it’s different being back this year knowing you get to reunite with all of the people you missed all summer long. You have your people there; you have your people at home. You have your groups and people to attend to in both places, not one spot truly has your entire heart.
Then, here you are two years later. You reconnect with your friends over a weekend all back together in one place. One person can mention a memory from seventh grade and everyone laughs sharing the same connections and memories they did years ago back in the same town.
It’s a weird concept. Friends scattered here and there, your family at home, your friends at school. Pieces of your heart are everywhere—yet there’s not ever a time you can be in one place and not miss the other.
It finally made me realize why coming back after seeing everyone brings a little bit of sadness or sense of something missing.
As we grow up, new connections are everywhere. You meet more and more people as you get older and the old friends you have from home, the ones who will always make an effort to be a part of your life, the ones scattered all around in different places, are still always going to be there. With these scattered people, our hearts scatter too. Pieces of our heart at home, pieces of our heart with our friends, all in different places making their own journey, pieces of our heart with our siblings and our parents, pieces of our heart with our friends at school.
Not one place will ever have it all. The people I love at home, my family, the friends I have been lucky enough to meet in college—each have a piece of my heart and keep it with them in their designated place. Visits never get easier to come back from. Visits home, visiting my friends, my boyfriend, my family—I always feel a little piece of me missing when I come back. When I am home for a long break, a little piece of me is missing when I can’t walk a few feet to go see my friends down the hall. The beauty of it all is that there will always be someone. There is always someone who keeps me grounded, keeps me sane, and creates a place where I feel at home. All of these pieces may be scattered about, but they all keep me connected and remind me of my roots and my direction wherever I go. Piece by piece, I am always reminded of the people who make me who I am—and no distance or separation can break that.