As hard and scary as the transition to college is, at a certain point, we get somewhat accustomed to our new lives. As time goes on, these new lives start to feel more and more normal, no matter how uncomfortable/unfamiliar they may be. From personal experience, I know I have become completely engrossed in my new life. The constant hustle and bustle of my classes, social life, and new city have completely sucked me in. In these first few months, I have been caught up in so many new, exciting distractions that often times lead me to not think about my childhood home at all.

When I first got back to Seattle this Thanksgiving break, all I could think about was, “Wow. I’m so bored. When can I go back to college?????” I genuinely missed Tulane, my new friends, and my new life. I felt weird and out of place, excited to be seeing all my friends and family of course, but still, eager to get back to school. But, as the week went on, these feelings started to fade as the nostalgia settled in. Driving in my car down the oh so familiar roads, visiting my high school, sleeping in my bed knowing my whole family was down the hall, going back to all my favorite food places, sharing endless laughter with my friends that I hadn’t seen for months. I started to realize just how special home was to me. I felt a hole in my heart, knowing that everything that was once apart of my day to day life was all of the sudden so limited.

After waiting months to see these individuals, all I got was a few hours with them before it was time to say those goodbyes again. These short, yet meaningful interactions really opened my eyes up to what it means to grow up, what it means to undergo change in life. We aren’t going to get to forever live inside of our childhoods and maintain every single relationship that we did in high school. As sad as that may sound, it’s just the way life works and we have to accept that our paths transgress for a reason, no matter how far off they are from what we once knew. What I really learned this break is how limited time is. Although Bellevue, WA will always be my home, I have to understand that I am really only going to be there for a couple of days every few months. I have to be able to appreciate my time there but at the same time realize that before I know it, I’ll be on the plane back to New Orleans.

This is, I guess one of the consequences and benefits of going to school so far away. I kind of have these two completely different lives. There are no overlaps between my friends at school and my friends at home. I live in a completely new city and have had to navigate through this new environment all by myself. I love having this exciting new life in New Orleans while at the same time still having such a wonderful home in Washington. But sometimes, this only makes things harder. I felt real pain in my heart as my plane departed from SeaTac this morning. It’s honestly really difficult to have to leave the place that I established myself in for the past 18 years. After going home, I was reminded of how strong and secure my life was before college. Although I feel very well adjusted at Tulane and so incredibly happy with my life here, there is no way to replace those 18 years of childhood in just 3 months. But, as hard as it is to leave home each and every time, I honestly think that this feeling will only make me a stronger, more independent person and more grateful for everything in my life. As I sit in my dorm room feeling a little blue, I know how much I have grown in these past weeks and I know that a huge part of it comes from building the “2 home muscle.” This growth comes from allowing myself to be sad, but then also stepping back and realizing just how lucky I am to not only have something that’s so hard to say goodbye to but also something that is so exciting to say hello to.

If you are a high schooler reading this, I know everyone tells you to cherish each and every moment and I’m gonna be another one of those people and tell you to do exactly that. As cheesy as it sounds, time flies and the period of your life that you are in right now is SO special. And to be completely honest, you will never get it back. Once everyone goes off in their separate ways, nothing will ever really be the same, no matter how bad you want it to be. Live in the present and enjoy it!!!! There are exciting things to come, but don’t get so caught up in the potential of the future that you ignore the beauty and uniqueness of your childhood years. Also, I encourage you to go out of state for college if that is an option for your family. As hard as it is to leave, you will learn so much about yourself, grow in countless ways, and get to experience things you never thought you would before.

 If you are a college student like me, unsure of how to feel about all these crazy changes and emotions, just know that no matter what happens, you are subconsciously learning and growing every single day. Allow yourself to be sad to leave home, allow yourself to be scared of what’s to come, allow yourself to be happy to reunite with your new best friends, allow yourself to feel unsure of what to feel at all. Be grateful for the life you have established thus far, and also for what you are beginning to create in your new environments. And most importantly, express your love for the people that are important to you in your life. What I have realized more than anything is how crucial these relationships are at this point in our lives. The time that we get to spend with everyone is no longer unlimited; make the most of the small moments you do have.

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