As your car pulls up to campus, you feel a rush of excitement. All of your gear is loaded in the back. You are finally a college student. With many plans about where all of your stuff will go in your new dorm room, you can hardly think of anything else. You meet your roommate, and your parents help you set up your side of the room. Then it's time for them to go. For a moment, the weight of what's happening really hits you. You can see your mother holding back tears, and you have a fleeting feeling of sadness, but you quickly shake it off thinking, "I can always go home to see them." It's true, you can always go home to visit those you love.
But it will be different.
College is a wonderful time full of new experiences, new people, and new places; however, sometimes all of the new gets in the way of the old. Coming to college puts you in a strange place, caught between two homes. Once on campus you start making new friends, start learning the geography of your campus, and start getting involved. At the same time, when you slow down, you realize that you miss your old home. No matter how you feel about your high school now, you will inevitably have feelings of nostalgia for "the good old high school days" from time to time. This recently happened to me when a friend of mine mentioned Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None in passing. My junior year of high school, my theater class performed the play based on Christie's novel.
That off-handed comment really made me want to go back home to see my theater teacher and my friends.
But It Just Doesn't Work That Way
Even if I went home, it simply wouldn't be the same. As a college student, you almost expect time to freeze back home, but it doesn't. I've been here at MC for three years, and just as much has changed in the past three years at home as they have here. While my theater teacher is still working at my old high school, most of my friends are attending other universities scattered around the country. In fact, when you go home, you start missing all of your friends from college and things like doing homework on the quad when the weather is nice. You're stuck in a weird place. No matter where you go you miss the people or places from your other home.
So What Can I Do?
For those of you that are finishing up your senior year of high school, I have some advice for how to negotiate this strange limbo world you are about to be a part of:
- Make the most of your time now. Don't be a stranger to your friends or your family.
- When you get to college, don't fall into the trap of going home every weekend. Some people try to negotiate the two-home conundrum by refusing to make school a second home. If you don't get connected to the people and the campus, you really won't get the most out of your college experience.
- At the same time, don't cut your old home out of your life completely. Give your friends from high school a call every now and then. Get dinner, and hang out when you're both back home.
- Call your parents. I can almost say that I have gotten closer to my parents since I have been in college because I call them almost every day.
It's actually not that bad
The thing is, having two places that you can consider home is wonderful! That just means that you have double the support, double the memories, and double the fun. It can be kind of weird at times, but that's life. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, and make the most of what you've got.