I’m back home, writing from the same green, striped couch in my living room that I wrote all of my college essays on a year ago. When my dad picked me up from the airport, I felt like we were just driving home after a really really long day of school. The finger doodles I made on the foggy car window last winter were still there, and I added a few more smudgy drawings while sitting shotgun. Business as usual. I got up this morning and realized that:
- My bed is freaking huge
- I don’t have to jump 5 feet off of it to get to the ground
- I’m living out of a small suitcase in my own house
- Showering without shower shoes is sensational
Walking into my room feels like a weird time warp. All of the posters and newspaper cutouts on the walls and tiny, useless things on my dresser are still, obviously, where I left them a few months ago. They’re frozen in some sort of interactive museum exhibit I get to visit every few months. To make these big leaps—being a college freshman and meeting new people and branching out in this supposedly Big Rebranding Opportunity as a stranger in a new town—and then to come back to a part of my life that has indelibly been placed into the past seems counterproductive in its time-traveling nostalgia.
I’m surrounded by and reviving all of these patches of childhood that were super real and very alive just recently. It’s funny how I’m talking about childhood as if I was an old lady reminiscing the “good ol’ early 2000s,” as if getting up in my own bed is so darn surprising. But I am gonna say it: I am surprised. It’s like I never left. I can still sleep in the same bed I’ve had since I was in elementary school and write late into the night on this green couch and remember my town like a breathing museum of the last ten years. In the next few days, high school friends who’ve dispersed across the country will slowly trickle back home and feel all the things I’m feeling now. We will eat way too much food and take the train into the city and reminisce like old ladies. It’s like we never left.
It’s still spooky to think of college as the thing that’s happening right now rather than the thing that my parents and aunts and uncles have chattered about in this grand, mystical way over dinner for eighteen years. The moment I came home and effortlessly slipped back into my childhood, I realized how much I love college. I miss taking the long way to class just to walk past the Duke Chapel in the piercing morning air. I miss bouncing in the dorm with Zoe while listening to really bad, really catchy Taylor Swift. I miss making all sorts of leaping conclusions about the boys in our lives with my friends. In the beginning of the semester, I asked an upperclassmen when Duke would start feeling like home. He said after Thanksgiving break. At the time I was slightly less enthused about the idea of college and its ability to shift my concept of home and comfort and stability. But I’ve reformed. Man, college is great.
So yeah. I’ve taken a six-hour, cross-country plane ride. I’ve time travelled into my childhood to celebrate Thanksgiving and eat and reminisce and laugh. I’ve come home. But while I’m here, cheers to the past:
P.S: Obviously, someone should meme this. I found it in the hinterlands of my computer, and it’s from sophomore year journalism. What a weird sprout I was.
Not sure what I’m doing there, but 15-year-old-me definitely did not think that she’d end up going to school in North Carolina, or that she’d be publicizing basically what is her diary on the internet.
…What a weird sprout I still am,