I never realized how easy it was to pack up my life. 

I was sitting in my dorm room at 1 a.m. on a Saturday night, folding my clothes into suitcases, when the thought hit me: This felt too simple. There had to be more to it. 

Due to notoriously cramped New York City apartments, I don’t have much stuff at home. All I have is a guitar, a box full of memories, and a few miscellaneous articles of clothing. So much of my life is in my dorm room. And it took me a grand total of three hours to box it all away. It took me a handful of hours to transport my entire life from one world to another.

All our little trinkets and belongings are not our entire lives, but they’re a good signifier of who we are. They brighten up our spaces and allow us to put a piece of ourselves on display. 

This week, we’re all packing up our lives. We are taking who we are and throwing it into boxes, suitcases, bags, and leaving our college lives behind for five months. And for some of us, sadly, forever. 

But there’s more to it.  The emotions that caught me in that moment in my dorm room were because of what else I was packing. 

I was boxing up those moments when you’re walking around campus and you see someone you know — it can be a quick smile and wave that brightens up your day or an awkward interaction that you obsess over for the next five minutes. My busy schedule of club commitments and meetings that made my day feel whole. The opportunities and gifts that come from being on campus. The events I had been planning for months, gone. 

I was packing up the missed opportunities to say hi to my crush. One more night of procrastinating and laughing in tears with friends and peers over assignments due the next day. The silly, meaningful, weird conversations. I’m storing away Pit trips, speed walking through the tunnels five minutes late to class, and flying paper airplanes during Statistics lectures. 

I know we’re all going through this, though I don’t know exactly what you’re packing. I can’t even begin to imagine how it feels for the seniors who are graduating. 

But I know that one day I’m going to open up these boxes again, the tangible items and the sentimental memories. It may not be for five months or even longer, but I will see them again.  You will, too. 

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