In the past few months, as cliche as it sounds, I’ve come to call the Heights home. I have friends that I call family and when I walk on campus I feel like I’ve been here much longer than a few months. Although my actual home is in Bergen County, N.J., I’ve made the decision to stay on campus for Thanksgiving. But, because I’ve spent so much time thinking about how I was going away to college, however, that I seemed to have forgotten that at some point I’d have to head back home.
It hit me for the first time this week that come the end of the semester, I’d actually be going home—and I felt sick. But, at the same exact time, I’m homesick too. There’s a three-way-tug-of-war among loving where I am, missing home, and also being scared to go back home.
At first, I had no desire to go home—at all. While other students longed to head back just for the weekend, I was perfectly content exploring Boston with my new friends. Of course, I missed my family and my home friends (and a good bacon egg and cheese), but my transition to BC went so smoothly that I seemed to have skirted homesickness.
But as the holidays draw nearer and nearer, I have realized that being home for the holidays is a blessing that I took for granted years prior. Especially for Thanksgiving,—which is my personal favorite holiday, as well as my grandfather’s—the pang of homesickness has set in. While I’ll still have my family of friends here, which I’m beyond grateful for, I won’t be able to watch the parade with my mom in the morning or catch my uncle furtively feeding our dog turkey under the table.
The holidays, however, are just half of the equation of returning home. The reality is that going home means readjusting to an older reality—and in some ways one that I feel I’ve outgrown.
Despite the pressure of college—the stress of homework, exams, and extracurriculars, and all the COVID-19 guidelines that tag along—I’m comfortable here. I have a consistent routine, and a favorite seat in Bapst. I know where I fit in.
Maybe if time stood still when I left home, it wouldn’t be so daunting to return, but it hasn’t. My home friends are different people and so am I. We’re all operating on different schedules and different wavelengths and I wish I could say when we’re all together again it will be the same, but what if it isn’t?
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s been really difficult keeping in touch with people who I haven’t been seeing every day, and I know this difficulty goes both ways. While distance makes the heart grow fonder, life has a way of creeping up on us. When I introduce my home friends to school friends over FaceTime it feels like worlds are colliding.
Even still, I constantly joke to the friends that I’ve made at BC that I wish I could take everyone home with me so that way, much like Hannah Montanna, I could have the best of both worlds. I’d be able to introduce my family and friends from home to the new friends I’ve made at school, and vice versa.
I also shed responsibilities when I left that I’ll have to reassume, like working. I’ve been reveling in the glory of being a full-time student, but at home I’ll have to get my act together again. I’ll also be returning to the balancing act of operating around my family’s schedule as well, instead of enjoying the fredom of choosing to spend my time however I like.
Simple freedoms that at the start of the semester felt like chores, now have become unalienable rights. For example, choosing when to eat dinner or do the dishes will now revert back to a family-advised decision, instead of whenever I feel like it. It’s stupid and ridiculous, but it’s just the kind of thing you forget you make a choice about every single day.
This is not to say that I’m not looking forward to spending time with my family and being able to enjoy the holidays at home—I truly am. And just as there are lost freedoms there are also the luxuries of returning home, as well. Like having my mom to help when I don’t know how to properly fold a fitted sheet (It’s like folding the American flag, it’s a two man procedure, at least.).
I’ve had such a positive experience at BC so far that I feel caught between two worlds: home and the Heights. It doesn’t matter which direction I’m heading in—I have the difficult blessing of having to say goodbye to people I care about.
Featured graphic by Allyson Mozeliak / Heights Editor