You Can Always Go Home Again

You Can Always Go Home Again

There's just no place like home.
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During high school, I encountered what seemed to be much more than my fair share of drama. I made friends, lost friends, made mistakes and achieved great things, but there was only one thing stuck on my mind: getting as far away from the town that I grew up in as I possibly could. Don't get me wrong, I had some absolutely amazing friends and I adore my family, but I was ready to start over and experience something new and meet a bunch of people who didn't know my name or anything about me. I was tired of the labels I had acquired during my eighteen years of growing up in the same small town, I was ready to chase my wildest dreams and leave the past behind.

So, college admissions time rolled around and 9/10 of the big schools that I applied to were out of state, the closest one (and my dream school) being five and a half hours away. Once I received my acceptance letter to my dream school and figured everything out financially, I was thrilled. I'd finally be able to get the fresh start I had been dreaming about and make a bunch of new friends and learn new things. Senior year flew by, and as graduation loomed, I began to panic. I didn't feel ready to hang up my cheerleading uniform or submit the last change to the yearbook and especially not walk across the stage to grab my diploma. "Where did the time go?" I wondered to myself as May turned into June and I was getting ready to say goodbye to the past eighteen years of my life.

An average summer came and went and then it was time to pack up the Ford Expedition and make the voyage to college. My fear turned into excitement as I realized just how much I wanted to go far away and start over. During my first few weeks, I learned amazing things, met wonderful people and had some of the best times. The best part about it all was that I could be completely, 100% myself and not have to worry about what people would think.

Unfortunately, things took a large turn for the worst around Halloween. I got a bone chilling text from my mom that my grandmother, a woman who I have adored since birth, had fallen and broken her pelvis and was really, really confused in the hospital. It was at that moment that I felt a pang of guilt. "I should be there with my family," I thought to myself. Finally, it was time for Thanksgiving and I could go home. My grandmother was confined to a wheelchair, and my grandfather was using a walker. The last time that I had seen them, they were both walking without help.

Again, I felt a huge shot of guilt go through me. I felt guilty that I was away having the time of my life while my family struggled to cope with the decline of my grandparents- the roots of our family. My 19th birthday was the Thursday after Thanksgiving, and I was back at school having fun with my friends. The next day, my mom called to tell me my grandfather was going to have to have emergency surgery, and I knew that at his age, it would be a big risk. I talked to him right before he went under, knowing that that very well could be the last time I'd ever talk to him on the phone. The moment I hung up, I began to grow incredibly homesick.

Winter break rolled around and my grandfather was still in the ICU fighting for his life. I was thankful that I had an entire month to spend at home, but not prepared to see my grandfather so swollen and sick on a ventilator that was literally breathing for him. My heart shattered with sadness and guilt, knowing that the end was near. I had spent so much time at school having fun that I missed the last few months of my grandpa's life. I could have visited more, I could have called more, but instead I was so focused on this new life I had that I completely abandoned my old one.

Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away shortly before I was supposed to go back to school, which left me having to leave town the day after his funeral, and I was a complete wreck. I didn't want to go back. I was fearful that the second I left, something else would go wrong, someone else would get sick or pass away and I would have never gotten to say goodbye. I loved school, the friends I had there, my classes and especially sporting events, but it felt like my heart was in two different places. The fact that those two places were five and a half hours away from each other didn't make things any easier. However, I did convince my mom to let me bring my car to school for second semester, and I have thanked myself for dedicating myself to persuading her every day.

Now, when I miss home, I can just drive there. The long car rides give me time to think, and it's always worth it when I walk through the door and see my dog waiting for me. I realized that no matter how much you may want to change, there really is no place like home, but that I love my home and the place that I go to school far too much to choose between the two of them-- so I chose both. I go to see my family as much as I possibly can, twice a month at maximum, and when I'm back at school, the memories from my visits help me feel less homesick. Don't worry, I still find time to go out with my friends and study while I'm away. It really is possible to have the best of both worlds, you just have to decide how much time you're willing to put into planning it out.

Since starting college, I've learned one very important lesson that didn't come from a professor: No matter how far you go or how old you are, you can always go home again.

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.

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So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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