Friday, April 16, 2004

In a few weeks, and for the next few years

Recently, I was introduced to these two websites. If you're in college, they might be worth a read (although they are corny and the first one has some serious grammar issues): In a few weeks and No title, by Matt Brochu.

Here's what I think about these:
First of all, when I place them in juxtaposition, I feel like they are a little bit contradictory. The first makes me feel anxious about going home, and the second makes me feel guilty for this anxiety. The first tells me that I have learned my greatest lessons with my new friends, but the second says that my true friends will be those that I grew up with. So now I am going to attempt to write about how I feel at this time of year.

I went home to Loudonville twice in the first month I was at school, both times because my sister was getting married. After the second time, I ranted and raved about how much I didn't want to go back anymore. I was happy at school, I didn't miss home. In retrospect, I realize that I was still learning, and that it wasn't home that was causing my problems, it was some of the people there.
So during the fall, as I struggled through my very first less-than-perfect grades, experienced marching band, and did all those "firsts" Matt Brochu talked about, I hated to go home. Yet, something always made me look for an opportunity to hop in the car and find myself back in the place where I'd grown up, where, inevitably, sometime during the visit I would wish desperately that I was back on campus, watching movies with my roommate or going to a party with my best friend. What was wrong with me?
Then came winter break, the time of year I had been dreading all fall. What was I going to do with myself for three weeks in that place that drove me crazy? It was going to be miserable, I knew it.
But I was wrong. I had such a wonderful break from school. As soon as I got home (and I'm talking, 10:30 at night), my friends were there, visiting me and sharing stories about the past few months over the cut-out cookies I was baking with my sister. It continued over the next few weeks: Mario Kart, movies, shopping, basketball games, with everyone from my closest high school friends to people I'd met over the previous summer to friends of friends I'd just met that night. It was some of the best memories of my freshman year! Home--how could I have hated this place?
But when it came time to head back to Oxford in January, I was ready to pack up my bags and move back in to my tiny room, head to Tuffy's with some friends to catch up, and start my new semester of classes. And this spring, I've gone home a lot less--only three times, including Spring Break--but I've enjoyed every minute of it. I don't fret about going home and when I'm there, I don't fret about going back.

Alright Loren, cut to the chase: What's the moral? You learn. You don't learn all at once; you didn't know how to react when you walked in the door for the very first time in the fall and you won't know what to do with yourself for certain those first few days at home this summer. But it won't be hard or scary, and you won't neccessarily be closest with those people you always thought would be there for you from high school. You've changed--living on your own in a new place is certainly going to change you--and maybe some of your childhood friends have changed too, so that you're just not meant to be friends anymore. But maybe some of those people you weren't so close to have changed as well, and you're going to be able to find a true friend in them. Better yet, maybe you and someone else have changed and learned together, and you really will always be best friends.
So my advice to you is, go home and be realistic. Cut your losses if you have to, and look to new friendships as a blessing, not a curse from having been gone for so long. There's that Girl Scout song that goes, "Make new friends, but keep the old..." and that's what is going to happen as you head out on your own, into the rest of your college years and beyond. That's normal. Don't let yourself get hung up on the location of the people who love you, because they're there. All you have to do is love them back and everything will turn out just fine. No matter where life takes you.

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