Leaving Home To Go To School

It's Time To Say 'See You Later' To My Hometown

I'm a mixed bag of emotions right now.


It's time for school to start again! For me, that means moving a whopping 15-minutes from family and back to the campus that's slowly starting to become my second home. I was terrified my freshman year because I didn't know what college had in store for me. Going back as a sophomore, I'm beyond excited to explore more of my great university.

Overall, I found myself quite bored this summer. Excitingly enough, I was flown out to the Pinterest headquarters, but I mostly spent my free time binging Netflix, as we all do. Now that it's time to go back, however, I realize just how much I'm going to miss the town I've always called "home."

I'm sure many people from small towns can relate, but I cannot begin to describe the sense of community in my town. We recently found out our local paper will be shutting down at the end of August. Almost every single community member flocked to Facebook to express their outrage to the news company, but even more so to share their love for the sweet editor, as she has become a dear friend and beloved community member to us all.

I think the loss of our local paper is what truly made me realize how much I cherish the time spent at home. Furthermore, during my last week of work, I had many of my regulars tell me just how much they're going to miss me this fall while I'm at school, which absolutely broke my heart. I guess I didn't comprehend just how much of a fixture I have become in my community this summer. I'll definitely be missing the people I've come to care for these past few months.

I failed to recognize what I love about this community: our school spirit, our small businesses, our amazing Mexican restaurant, and so much more. As boring as this town may be compared to bigger places, this place is my home, and I'll forever be grateful.

Nevertheless, I'm okay saying "goodbye" to my ever-loving hometown because I know I have an equally amazing community waiting for me at school. It's a very different type of community; most of the people I interact with are my age or close to it, and Champaign a more urban environment. Regardless, the bonds that can be formed are just as wonderful as those I've forged at home.

So, as I unpack my things back at school where I feel like I now belong, I'll remember that my small town made me who I am, and that while I'm not the person I thought I'd be growing up, I owe it all to the cute little town I've left to chase my dreams.

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Friendship: From School To College

The only thing I know is that I don't know


In the first version of my common app essay I wrote about friendship. I started by describing this mural I have in my bedroom. It occupies about two walls and is as huge as you are probably picturing in your head. I have always been slightly entitled, and so at the time I really thought I understood what friendship was about. I had just had a massive fight with some people whom I used to consider very close friends, and I had proceeded to (very dramatically) take down some pictures from this mural. So the mural was incomplete, and I used this as a metaphor in an essay that if I had submitted it at the time, I probably wouldn't be writing this article for Odyssey at Emory because I wouldn't have gotten into college in the first place.

Thankfully, I decided against that essay and submitted a completely different version in December of 2016. The mural, however, continues to be incomplete. I have made peace with some of the people I had fought with back then, and have made new friends in college and matured quite a bit since that first draft of my common app essay. Now, I can more humbly say that I don't really know much about friendships, or people in general, despite pursuing a psychology major for the past two years. The mural is incomplete because of this lack of knowledge.

Something that I have learned though is that college friendships and school friendships are fundamentally different. I went to a small school from when I was six years old to the time I graduated. That is a whole lifetime seeing the same people every day, growing up with those people, a whole lifetime to understand the values and habits of those people. And even then they can surprise you. So how arrogant did I have to be to not expect any surprises from people I knew for only one year in college. It's true that it's a different way of knowing people, that living together away from home pulls people closer than in any other situation. But how well can you really know someone after one or two years?

Not well enough, is the only answer I have been able to come up with. There is a certain symmetry I think, of me writing a bad essay about my broken mural after having a fight with my friends in school, and now three years since then here I am, writing a more humble version of that essay about that same mural, which remains incomplete. But this time, the mural isn't incomplete because I am mad or hurt and don't want to look at certain faces. Its incomplete because I am not sure who I want to put up in the mural yet.

I have never liked the idea of family being your blood relatives, because there are many blood relatives that I don't like, and many people whom I am not related to by blood but am related to by heart. There are few certainties, and these are up in my mural. But as I mentioned before, it's a huge mural, and so there is still a lot of space left for more.

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