For many UR freshmen, Thanksgiving was not their first time being home. Not all of us live within distance to go back and forth at our leisure, though. In fact, some students who live as far as California, or outside of the United States have yet to return home.
As for me, Thanksgiving was the first time I set foot back on Kentucky soil. Three months of being away and I was ready to get down on my knees and kiss the pavement of my driveway.
I was anxious and impatient. On the airplane, I rambled to the poor woman next to me about how much I had missed it, how, as much as I love Rochester, Kentucky is definitely my “comfort zone.” She was visiting friends in Louisville for the holiday and inquired about the city. I scoffed at her when she asked what river we were flying over.
“The Ohio.” Duh.
“It looks beautiful.”
“Yeah, from a distance, but I don’t recommend swimming in it.”
The more we talked, the more anxious I got, and the closer to tears I became at the thought of being home.
By this point, after all of the buildup, hopefully you will have figured out that there was no way the trip could live up to my expectations. In fact, after the first day “home,” I was ready to return “home” to Rochester.
Why? Damn it, it wasn’t fair. I spent 18 years of my life in the same house, the same bedroom, with the same parents and the same friends. Why, after three months at UR, was it already my haven?
Reasons could be:
1. My parents completely redid my bedroom while I was away. I felt like a guest in my own home.
2. We had two dogs. One that I had never even met before, and one that we had gotten over the summer. We had never had dogs before, and their being in the house just made it feel less like our house.
3. All of the family who came in town stayed at our house, overshadowing my much anticipated homecoming, but also just taking over the place. There was never a moment of quiet, and never did I get to spend any time alone with my parents, the animals, or the house.
But there must be something beyond these reasons that made home feel less comfortable for me. After all, many freshmen have the same sort of emotions, but don’t share the same experience as me. I can’t explain it ? I can only guess.
Do parents take a son or daughter’s departure to college as an invitation to make the many changes they had always wanted to make, but had never had the time or energy? A friend of mine came to Rochester from Pittsburgh, and at the same time her parents, with her younger brother, picked up and moved to Charlotte.
She had no home to return to, so naturally UR felt like home to her ? or at least, more so than Charlotte.
There must be something about this age, going from high school to college ? the transition from being completely dependent on parents to having much more independence. For me, graduating high school was closure, and leaving Louisville for college was the beginning of the next chapter of my life.
Every time I return home to see old friends and hang out at all the old places, I will just be reopening that chapter of my life that I had closed when I graduated. It makes sense. It’s sad that I won’t ever be able to go back and do the same things I did in high school, and feel normal doing them, but I guess it’s just time to move on.
Rubin is a freshman and can be reached at email@example.com.