We knew this was inevitable — the end of another summer. The break from university appeared so long in May as I drove down the parkway with my car filled to the brim, both literally and figuratively of both my physical belongings as well as my experiences and memories from my sophomore year. I was excited for the start of another summer, a time teeming with possibility. Despite it being considerably less financially expensive to live in my parents’ house, I am very grateful to be moving back to college into a university apartment that I am sharing with my three roommates.

First off, I am thankful to be able to escape the place I grew up in so that I can continue to grow in a community I love.

The fact remains that I stopped talking to many people in my high school class after the caps flew into the air on the football field. We had all gone our separate ways and moved on from the locker-lined hallways that made our high school. Seeing that popular person who didn't bother wanting to talk to you in high school now standing behind the counter of the grocery store wondering how you are doing in life and suddenly getting chatty is just weird. There is only so much of running into your mainly awkward past you can take before you start to become annoyed by the situation at hand.

I am sorry hometown, but you do not provide me with the level of independence I have at school.

With many central points on campus open late such as libraries and student centers, it is easy to become a night owl when getting work done and meeting up with friends. Meanwhile, the latest any sort of public, non-retail space is open is until 8 p.m. It is not your fault, hometown, that you do not have the vibe of a buzzing university campus after that time. In addition to this, there is another force to reckon with while home: parent(s). At school, I am free to move about as I please and have no one to answer to. However, going out of the house when home for break usually involves an interrogation of your whereabouts. I enjoy the freedom that you, hometown, do not permit me to have.

Never mind the lack of independence, there was also a quick realization that I did not have a job coming home.

Hometown, most jobs located in or around you typically want at least a six-month commitment. I have tried and tried to get a job or internship but have fallen short due to the fact that I was taking three classes at the local community college and move back to college at the end of August. At school, however, I work part-time at a job that fits in with my class schedule. I cannot wait to return to my on-campus job so that I can start earning that bi-weekly paycheck that will mostly go to groceries and loans.

Finally, hometown, you lack the part of my life that makes me truly happy: my friends.

Yes, hometown, I did have friends at the local high school. But it was more about finding a crowd to fit in with so I wasn't alone than about meaningful connections. At college, my friends and I are connected on a deeper level that I never experienced in this town, from late night study sessions, arranging schedules to meet up for meals, attending each other’s organization’s events, and more. It seems basic, but I have never felt these simple joys before my first year of college.

So hometown, it has been nice to save money and live at home while attending community college to catch up on credits at my four-year school. Now, it's time to move boxes and bins into my new building that will become my new home for the next 10 months.