Last semester I wrote a piece about the scariness of changes that happen back home after you leave for college. It looks like someone was listening when I wrote that piece, because I will now be able to watch my hometown change for six weeks longer than anticipated. But now the changes seem a lot scarier.
As I return to my hometown, I am fully leaving my dorm room behind. While my forced triple wasn’t my favorite place on campus, it was still the closest thing I had to a home there. As I sit on my bed in my actual home, surrounded by every memory of my first year I could find, my dorm bed is bare. The last night I slept in my dorm room was the first night the walls had been actually empty since I moved in. (In true English major fashion, the first thing I put up when I got to my dorm room was a Kafka poster.)
Except for a few chips in the paint, there is no proof I ever inhabited that space, nor any trace of the life that I lived while there for my first year. The first-year who will move in next fall will have no idea about the time I wanted to kill my roommate because she decided to start vacuuming at 10 p.m. They won’t look at my bed and think about the time I forced my best friend to order pizza, but never made it to her room because I’d fallen asleep in my own bed. They won’t know about the time that I sobbed because sometimes, college is really hard.
Instead, they’ll walk in and maybe put up their own poster (hopefully not Kafka — that wall can only take so much) and make their own memories in there, unaware of the ones Imade. They’ll walk in on the first day worried about making new friends, and registering for classes, and a million other things that will feel insignificant a week later.
I will most likely never step inside my first-year dorm room again. And unless I decide to knock on some poor unexpecting first-year’s door in my senior year, I probably won’t find myself in my first-year hall again, either.
I have left a fourth of my college experience behind, and have an incredibly uncertain future given the circumstances. I will (hopefully) become a more confident person going into my sophomore year, and have new adventures in a different room — but I don’t know that for sure.
So as I’m back here in my hometown, watching it change, I’ve left my dorm room behind. And while I’ll come back to my hometown again, my old dorm room will continue to change without me.