The everyday life of a college student is absolutely exhausting: trying to balance academics, your social life, joining clubs, and finally, maintaining relationships from home. Most college students come to college with a fresh start, ready to meet new people and build new relationships. But, how does one manage being present in both your old life and your new life?
I have definitely struggled with this question during the past year and a half of college. At first, my friends from home seemed irreplaceable, and it scared me that I wasn’t going to find that group in my new life in NOLA. The adjustment of leaving my friends and family at home was one of the most challenging obstacles I have ever faced in my life, but looking back, I realize that I was not alone during this difficult transition. This is the thing that nobody wants to admit about being a first semester freshman. No one wants to admit that they’re homesick or just wanting some extra love from home. Finding my place in my new environment and finding people that reminded me of home were the start to my life at Tulane and how I would view my college experience.
My home friends are still my best friends in the entire world and I am beyond grateful that I have them as a source of constant support. But having to make new friends who I have genuinely come to love has been the most amazing experience. Having not only one amazing group of friends but two is beyond special. This process has added depth to my personality and has made me truly appreciate each individual friend. The craziest part is how many overlaps and what a small world it is; my two worlds have so many connections to each other.
I have finally made Tulane my home and have friends that I know will last a lifetime. This didn’t happen overnight. I mean, I’m a first semester sophomore, still figuring things out, but I feel like this is my place now. I can attribute so much of this to the security I feel with my new friends and the relationships I have built and know will last. I don’t want to get ahead of myself; this adjustment was the most difficult thing in the world for me. I had friends at home that I missed so much, and I thought it was going to be impossible to fill the void. Even though I feel like I have found my people here, sometimes that void is still there. I miss them every day and I still count down the days until visits, and Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. This being said, I have a balance. I have two groups that bring out different qualities in me, all significant and all unique.
I recently just got back from home, where I spent much-needed, amazing time with some of my friends and family. I realized how fortunate I truly am for having all these amazing people in my life. Finding that balance when going home between spending time with family and friends is very difficult, and something that I have struggled with in the past year and a half. Making sure to spend as much time with family as well as friends is so crucial in order to maintain these important relationships. But, I have learned how to prioritize. My friends mean so much to me, but I have realized that spending time with my family is above all, even if it means just watching TV with my parents or driving my sister to school. It’s those moments that I remember. I think it’s easy to get lost in being with friends 24/7 because you want to see them and update each other on your new lives, but I want to strongly encourage each and every single one of you to not take your family time for granted.
On top of all of this, I have been in a long-distance relationship for the past two years. This is another added element that makes this all the more difficult, but has made me stronger. Dealing with all of these emotions of being present at Tulane while being a good friend, sister, daughter and girlfriend is a challenge in its own. Trying to keep up with academics and extracurricular activities while doing this is the most exhausting, but exciting, part of college for me. I have been given so many amazing and inspiring outlets in my life and I am grateful that each is there for me. I have loving parents who are always there for me, I have two amazing sisters that I get to mentor, I have amazing friends who are my constant support system, and a boyfriend that has brought me more happiness than I could imagine.
I’m not saying all of this to make my life seem amazing and to brag about my people, but to tell you that it will happen to you too. It may take time, and last year I would have never thought I would be in this position, but everything comes full circle. There is a niche for you in college, and you will find your comfort and home wherever you are. Home is never that far away if you build the strong relationships that bring you happiness and love. Having my home in Los Angeles and my home away from home in NOLA is beyond special to me; I miss the other when I am not there and truly hold both homes close to my heart.