To The Person Who Is Missing Home After Break

To The Person Who Is Missing Home After Break

It'll start to feel normal again.

Your dogs. Your parents. The home-cooked means (or pizza that didn't come from your own bank account.) As exciting as it is to come back to your "home away from home", it is difficult to leave all those things and so much more behind. Sometimes, a day at home seems like too much and sometimes, 3 weeks seems like not even close to enough.

Maybe you're not like me. Maybe you couldn't get away fast enough, you couldn't wait for the familiar smell of local food and beer to engulf you in your college town. Maybe 3 weeks at home was, and always will be, too much. Or maybe you're just like me. And the first night back in your bed at school feels like a disaster sleep-away camp where all you want is to go back home. And where no matter how many breaks you've come back from, you still feel the pit in your stomach wondering if it'll ever feel normal again. Maybe you text your mom a few extra times to try to get used to her not being right by you for so long.

It sucks. Every time you come back, it hurts your heart. And then it becomes normal. And you begin to love being where you are and consider it your home. You get a sense of normalcy and familiarity. And then you go back home, come back, and start the process over again.

No matter how many times you do it, going back to school is hard. Whether it be from summer break, winter break, or just a quick weekend with your family, leaving behind what was home and familiarity and happiness for 18+ years of your life is difficult. Your dogs not jumping on you and your parents not harping at you somehow becomes something you miss greatly.

But remember that missing home doesn't mean you don't love your other home. Don't question if you belong at school because your heart is longing to be elsewhere. It won't feel this way forever. You will adapt, and you will get back into the swing of things and everything will feel like it did before. Being sad to go back doesn't mean you don't love where you're going, it just means you also love where you're coming from, and that's okay.

Power through and eventually it will feel normal again. Call your mom. FaceTime your dogs. Keep yourself busy. And soon enough, this place will become the place that is hard to leave.

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An Open Letter To The Future Me

I want to say that I know you, but really, I don’t think that I do.

Dear Future Self,

I’m laughing as I write this -- I remember writing a similar letter in the 5th grade and my teacher keeping it until the end of the year. Here I am, writing a similar letter.

Who knows when I will read it again: next year, in five years, or perhaps in ten years?

Well, here I am; “past” you. The decisions that I am making today, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem to me, are helping to shape you. I’m succeeding and doing great things, but I am also messing up and and facing hardships. It’s life; it’s our life.

You spent your childhood wanting time to slow down, but also itching to reach those “milestones” in life -- the double digits of 10, sweet 16, a totally legitimate 18-year-old adult, 21 and fun, etc. etc. You’ve felt both old and wise, but also young and insignificant.

Here’s something I want you to take to heart and to listen to -- slow down.

You move way too fast. Your mind is always in the future, worrying about class tomorrow or getting accepted into veterinary school next year.

Most of the time, you are not living in the moment, which is not a way to live. Slow down and enjoy what is happening when it is happening.

You have time, so stop stressing so much.

Make more time to go out with friends, to go on dates with your boyfriend, to have movie nights with your family (heck, go call your Mom, Dad, and sister right now! Let them know how much you love them, appreciate them, and need them.).

Make more time to to wish on dandelions, talk to strangers in coffee shops, and listen to new music for hours on end.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t finish what you think you’re supposed to because, chances are, you did what you were actually meant to do.

Don’t lose your relationship with God.

No matter how busy everyday life gets, make time to talk to God.

Make time to thank Him for all that He has down for you.

Make time to tell Him about your life and to open your heart about what you want.

Go to Church when you can and read your Bible verse every night.

It will keep you sane; He will keep you sane.

I know sometimes your anxiety is going to get bad; sometimes, it will truly be unbearable. But, here is the thing -- it will pass. It will. Just keep pushing another day, just one more day. Facetime Mom or color a picture or go listen to “C’mon” on repeat on your phone. The hot moments will end and cool moments will replace them.

No matter when you may think, the best is not behind you. Life is only going to continue to grow and get better.


Your 21-year-old self

Cover Image Credit: Amanda Topolski

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Dear Knoxville,

This girl misses you.

I'll admit upfront that I wanted to leave you ASAP post-high school, and I took you for granted. It's not surprising since you were all I really knew, and I wanted to explore outside of what I knew. I wanted to leave as soon as I could, and I jumped on opportunities to stay away. Now I find myself missing you more than not.

My senior year of high school I could not wait to get out of the "Knoxville bubble." I felt like I was stuck and wanted to leave before I was chained to a city I felt was mundane. After living in one spot for all my life, I was eager for a new experience and craving independence. This influenced my decision to go to college out of state, and I didn't look back. However, I wasn't homesick much my first year of college, and I told myself I would never move back to Tennessee after I graduated.

I had always been told that East Tennessee was one of the most beautiful areas to live and that I was lucky to live there. I never believed that until recently, because as of recently I have been suffering homesickness and it, frankly, sucks. I miss going to the mountains, I miss my family, and I miss the culture. More than anything I miss familiarity, and as Dayton becomes another home to me, it will never beat Knoxville in my book.

Now, in my second semester of sophomore year, I have found myself planning when I come back home as soon as I leave. My time at college now revolves around the question of: "When will I get to come back home?" It's frustrating as life continues while I am gone, and every time I return home so much has changed.

I'm afraid of the day that I'll come back and not recognize you or the places I grew up knowing. I accept change, and know it is for the best, but I rely on you to remain my home-base which I can return to when everywhere else seems no good.

I don't know if I'll come back to Knoxville once I have finished school, but it isn't out of the question. Not anymore. However, wherever I end up, I know I will always come back because part of me will always miss you. I will always come back to you, because this city raised me and formed the woman I am today. So, Knoxville, I'll see you soon.



Cover Image Credit: Tim McCready

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