Picture this. You’re sitting at your desk at twelve o’clock at night eating Kraft mac n’ cheese—because you didn’t eat dinner..because you had a venti double chocolate Starbucks frappuccino at three o’clock after one of your exams…because you’re a self-indulgent college freshman whose motto became “treat yo self” after binge watching Park and Rec during your first semester (Aziz went to NYU!). You’ve got one hand on your fork and the other navigating through the twenty tabs open on your laptop. You glance at the time on your phone, sigh, and begin to reflect upon all your current thoughts.
Okay, so you might have had to imagine that this is where you are now. Unfortunately, it is where I am right now. Although I hope you are in a much comfier state because you have much better productivity skills than I do during finals season. I want you to stick with me for a moment.
What’s on your mind? Your first thought might be the three exams for your classes coming up and a final essay for your first-year expository writing class due tomorrow; these things hanging over your head like a reminder that if you don’t live at the library for the next week, your GPA might go down the drain. But that might be your brain telling you that you can’t wait for the school year to be over. But is that true?
Do you really want to leave? Whether you’re happy or sad about leaving college and whether you’re staying over the summer, there’s no denying that from the day you stepped foot onto campus, your world has split into two.
There are your friends that you’ve made here in college and the friends that you have back home. If you’re living on campus, there’s the room you have with a twin XL bed with a roommate that you adore, and the bed you slept on back home. Going home means no essays, no exams, and exponentially fewer tasks in your planner.
But you’re also a bit worried about going home. You see, within a course of a year, a lot has changed. You’ve grown in more ways than one—you’ve begun to understand yourself. You aren’t necessarily a radical new person (as seen by your unceasing procrastination and weekly chipotle cravings), but you are an improved person, seen from skills you learned from being independent and the quality of relationships you made with the people around you.
Now then, the question is, how much of that positive change is a result of your away-ness? Perhaps it is a result of your here-ness?
The end of your first year in college marks a transition. Going home means seeing friends who have also experienced similar positive changes. Things won’t be the same? Or will they?
It’s scary I suppose to think of all these changes that have occurred during my first year. Living in a large metropolitan city has definitely facilitated my strong independence as well as those changes. However, when I take a step back, I’m still the same person at the core—watching pug videos and tagging friends in Facebook posts.
As I push the mac n’ cheese around the cup, I’ve come to acknowledge that my overthinking is a blessing. To be agonizing between such incredible places, to have grown so much within the past year, is something that I’ll look forward to during my time at college. After all, in three and a half months, I’ll be back living in an entirely different place on campus and wearing the title of a sophomore. New year, new challenges. And I’d like to think that that’s the beauty of it all.