I was sitting in my first class of junior year, dealing with yet another long and grueling syllabus week, scrolling through my Tumblr news feed. I had a question from an anonymous blogger that said, “What was the hardest thing about leaving for college?” In my head I thought of a million answers, and before I had time to even think about all I left behind at home, I had to close the app.
Moving from North Carolina to Alabama, I had one of the hardest transitions into college. It was one of those transitions that you just don’t really talk about. I avoid conversations about my family and about high school, solely so I can stay cool, calm, and collective. I am very sensitive about the topic, and find myself homesick more often than not. This question really hit me, especially being the first day of my junior year. The first day of my third year away from home. The first day of the year before I graduate and move on into the real world. I waited until I got home in a quiet spot to answer this question, because I knew it was one that deserved a heartfelt response. So this is what I wrote:
“The hardest part about going to college was knowing that I would never live with my family again. When I go home now, it is no longer my home, it is just a place I visit for a few days or a long weekend. My parents moved into a smaller house when I moved out, leaving my all of my belongings in a storage space and my room at the beach house was taken over by my sisters. I can’t take my husband home in 3 or 4 years from now and show him where I played in the backyard or where I hid my diary in my old closet. When I say I’m going “home” I’m really just going to sleep on the couch in my parents house, and “home” is now my quiet one bedroom apartment 3 states away. My mom will never make my bed down at night again and my dad will never come through the door calling for me when he gets home from work again. There’s never 5 places set at the dinner table anymore, and you won’t find my car in the driveway when you pass the house. Decorating the Christmas tree is done without me, and Thanksgiving with my family has to be planned months in advance. I had no idea how lonely life would be three states away, so the hardest part about going to college was realizing that my family and I would never be the same.
My family and I at my high school graduation, three years ago