Saying goodbye to your hometown, friends, and family as winter break draws to a close is never fun. There's always someone you don't want to leave, or someone you didn't get to see, or a hometown haunt there wasn't time to go back to. But as you begin the spring semester of your senior year of college. it's different. Not only is the last semester of undergrad terrifying in a hundred ways, you may or may not be moving back after graduation. The pressure to make it the best visit ever is intense, and near-impossible to live up to.
1. Hug The People Who Matter
Especially if you know not everyone will be able to make it to graduation, you need to make time for the people you love. Not every friend or cousin or grandparent will be able to see you before you move to wherever your new life is starting, and between student loan payments and rent it could be a while before you make it home again. Hug them all tight before you head off into a new beginning. If there's anything 2016 has taught us, it's that tomorrow isn't promised to anyone.
2. Go To Your Favorite Hometown Restaurant At Least Once
There is nowhere better to get boss queso than Vallartas in Pensacola, Florida. Vallartas has incredible food (and margaritas!) and is a gem of awesome atmosphere and service that's one of my favorite places to go when I'm home. Your hometown likely has such a place, a hole-in-the-wall that has food like no other. Make sure to go, so you'll have something to dream about in the haze of Ramen that lies ahead.
3. Spend Time With The Small Fries
If there are kids in your life who are important to you, you've likely realized by now how quickly they grow while you're off at school. If you think a semester away is bad, you won't be prepared for how much damage a year can do. Find time to sit with the kiddos, explain what you can to them, and find ways to stay in contact while you're gone. It will help you both.
4. Bring What You Can
You may look like a pack-rat dragging everything back to the dorm, but it's worth it to have the blanket your grandma made for you or the teddy bear you got when you were 2 to snuggle when the perfect job doesn't come along right away and you're crying into your ice cream. Don't go crazy, but make sure the most important things come with you.
5. Don't Be Afraid Of Goodbye
You're starting a new chapter, and terror is normal. Be afraid, but don't let it hold you back. Your hometown is great in all its own ways, but new places and faces will shape your life now and that's good! Take a breath, take a step, and don't be shy about letting go.
6. Remember It's Still Okay To Cry
Whether it's saying goodbye to your baby sister that cracks the dam or just realizing it's the last time you'll see your street sign for a while, crying is normal. Life is full of messy goodbyes that hurt like hell and it's healthy to let yourself feel that pain. You will get through it, but tears will probably come first.
Take a deep breath, Spring Seniors, we're almost there!