You really never know what you have until it’s gone. When I left home last fall, I didn’t realize some of the little things that would suddenly be missing from my life, like the sound of The Office theme song intermittently ringing out from our living room or the familiar street signs and local directions. Now, as I prepare to return to my childhood home, I am suddenly faced with the reality of leaving my new, second home. I have become as familiar with if, and probably more reliant on, my New Orleans routine as my hometown happenings. I will once again have to readjust to my family dynamics and summer job just after becoming comfortable with my new surroundings at Tulane. 

College has made me wish I could be two places at once; that I could combine the world of my hometown with what I love most about Tulane. I wish I could bring the beauty of Audubon to my backyard and the constant happenings of New Orleans to my small Wisconsin town. At the same time, I’m excited to eat at my local diners and go boating at my friends’ lake houses. I think we’re also all beyond ready to be done with classes and exams, but also slightly stressed about finding that perfect summer job or internship and the monetary concerns that come with it.  

Most of all, I will miss the people that I’ve come to know and love during these past nine months. For me, home is 25% familiarity with a place and 75% love from the people around you. I came into college not knowing a soul, and the people I met saved me from a semester of loneliness and heartache. I owe them more than I can ever give, and I will miss their presence with the same heartache that I’ve missed my dogs and family with throughout the year.  

When we part ways, there will be tears, maybe even more tears than when I left my high school friends. The friends I will leave over the summer are truly a family to me, because they were all I had to rely on being so far away from home. Luckly, it will only last a few months, but they will be months of conflict between the comfort being back at home and the stress of not having my second family with me at all times.

COVER PHOTO: Rachel Wine