Two weeks ago I went to my college’s homecoming. Decked out in our school colors and packing as much school pride as possible, alums and current students flocked to campus to cheer on our team and revisit their college experience, if only for a weekend.
Some people have said that college was the best four years of their life. I’m only five months out, but I would like to believe that isn’t true. I would hope that things just keep getting better from here.
As a freshman you look up to the upperclassmen. They seem to have an amazing sense of wisdom that you hope will one day be yours. As a sophomore you realize that you’re beginning to know what you’re doing, but you’re still pretty new to the game. Junior year, you know that your time is starting to run out and that you need to start checking things off your bucket list. Suddenly its senior year and people are asking you for advice. You’re the one that they’re looking to for the answers, for the example. Blink one more time and your standing at graduation waving goodbye to people who you may never see again.
But I wasn’t the only one who changed during my time in college. With each break I went back to my house and realized that things were changing in my absence. My siblings were growing up without me, and my parents’ lives kept moving forward. Each year when I saw the family at Thanksgiving I noticed that my little cousins weren’t so little anymore. My friends were forming new circles. At home everyone’s world was still spinning and I wasn’t necessarily a part of it anymore.
Four years is a long time. When you spend that much time in one place it becomes a part of you. Spend enough time in one place and the people around you become your family. It becomes your home.
Home is where we grow up. It’s where we make mistakes and begin to find out who we are. It’s our comfort zone. No one comes from the perfect home environment. There are always things that we wish we could change, but we’ve been shaped by where we come from and where we’ve been. The good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between all come together to make us who we are, and we will always carry a part of it with us.
Moving forward doesn’t mean we have to completely let things go, we just have to be willing to let them go on without us.
Reaching our dreams requires recognizing that change is not only inevitable, it’s necessary. We should never hold on to the past so tightly that we don’t appreciate the things that are happening in our present, or that we forget the things that we still have dreamed for our future.
Home will never be the same, and that’s OK. The truth is, neither will you. But it will always be yours. It will always be a part of you. And you can always go back, if only for a weekend.