What It's Really Like Returning Home From College For The First Time
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What It's Really Like Returning Home From College For The First Time

I guess I didn’t realize how much I missed home until I came home.

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What It's Really Like Returning Home From College For The First Time

I returned home this past weekend, for the first time after moving away to college two months ago. While it was awesome to secretly coordinate with my dad to spontaneously fly home to surprise my mom, I think I also surprised myself in a way.

A common notion and a repetitive theme in coming of age movies is the classic statement: “I can’t wait to get out of this town and never come back” or “high school was a nightmare; I cannot wait to get to college.” I, however, could not feel more opposite. Returning home only reiterated to me how beautiful and nice my childhood neighborhood is. I felt overwhelming floods of nostalgia and memories as I drove around my younger sister and friends who are still in high school. Although I realize I am not even a full year out of graduating from high school, I feel like I haven’t gone to school there in like 25 years. While, of course, I know this is an exaggeration it feels like it has been so much longer than just a few months. But as much as I miss going to high school Monday through Friday, surrounded by teachers who were excited to teach and cared if you were learning or not, what I miss the most are the people who I saw in the hallways. It’s my entire grade and my friends that made my high school experience what it was.

Visiting Scarsdale when barely any of my friends were home felt almost like visiting a ghost town in a horror movie. Sure it was nice to not be overwhelmed with social plans and commitments. What I really wanted was time to just relax and enjoy with my family. But as I scrolled through pictures on Instagram of all of the younger grades ready to go out in their Halloween costumes, a sad underlying feeling shook me when I realized that my friends were not around to get dinner or go out with. It is the people that make home feel like home. This was the first time I have ever returned home to Scarsdale with such an underwhelming amount of people I knew. I felt a little like I was out of place. Settling in for a visit home without my friends made me realize that high school was then and college is now.

At home, I was not expecting to feel like a lot of things were different than I remembered –but they were. One of the first things I noticed when I walked into my house was how low my parents’ bed felt. This once ginormous, king-sized bed now seemed almost small compared to my high-rise bed at college. I had also been anticipating sleeping in my big comfortable clean bed at home for weeks. I was longing for a quiet night in my room alone, but when I laid down the first night, my room seemed almost too quiet. It was strange because at school I thought that I would never become accustomed to the white noise that suburbia now lacked. While this gave me a weird query it was not the only one I got during this visit.

Another thing I was caught off guard by was the change in the seasons. I guess I forgot that when I left in August it was summertime. This weekend, our pool was closed, and my house initially looked quite different with the outdoor furniture stored and tons of colorful leaves on the trees and all over the lawn. Maybe my mind didn’t process that things (including the seasons) would move forward in Scarsdale without me.

Not unpacking my suitcase when I got home was also another first time experience for me. Normally when I fly into the New York airports and make the trek home, it is at the end of a vacation or trip. I arrive home to my bed knowing that I probably won’t be traveling for a while and can just settle back in. But this time, was the first time, I was on a vacation at my own house. What a weird concept.

Also, throughout the weekend my house had that warm feeling it gets during the holidays or when someone special visits. I could have sworn it was Hanukah or Thanksgiving but in reality the only special occasion was my returning home! It was so fun, celebratory, and happy that I secretly had moments of apprehension for when I was going to have to go back to school. The whole time I kept feeling it was going to be December break or something, and that my friends would be home soon and I could unpack my suitcase. But I had to keep reminding myself that I was only home for a brief weekend and would soon be back at school, which of course is not a bad thing because, in fact, I love school! The flood of emotions that accompanies the first visit home after moving to college is intense. Stepping off the fast paced treadmill of college life and returning home reminds you just how nice it was to live at home - in your own clean room and bathroom, eating home cooked meals, and having the freedom to just drive your car off of the grid. It is a weird thing to feel homesick when you are home, but believe me it is possible.

The thing with college is that it’s a bubble. If you went to summer camp you know what I mean. When you are at college the entire outside world is sort of irrelevant. You talk to your mom and miss her but she is just a phone call away. You text your high school friends everyday but you are too busy with all of your new exciting commitments, classes, and college friends to totally reminisce.

I guess I didn’t realize how much I missed home until I came home. And although I know it will be hard to leave and say goodbye again I know that once I enter that “college bubble” it will be as if I never left. Who knows it may even feel like I’m returning to my new college home. This bittersweet vacation to home was one that was necessary. It showed me how lucky I am to have grown up in a place that I can miss so much. To have people that are so hard to say goodbye to. And forever a place to return to, whenever, to call home.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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