I’m not sure I’ve ever felt anything quite like the relief I experienced after my last class before Thanksgiving break. It was noon on Wednesday – the day before Thanksgiving itself – and it seemed like everybody else had left except for me. I swear I saw Western-style dust balls blowing across my urban campus as I practically sprinted back from class, ready to pack my things and head out.
It’s not that I was dying to leave school; for all intents and purposes, I think of school as my home, my box of a dorm room as my very own. But I was so ready to eat copious, borderline disgustingly indulgent amounts of home-cooked food. I daydreamed of taking a shower without shower shoes. And then, there was the prospect of seeing my high school friends – people with whom I could move past basic conversational topics, people who already knew all my stories because they were in them.
Thanksgiving itself was a major success. I recited major highlights of the semester so far multiple times to my relatives and ate until I physically could not move. It was beautiful. Then the day after Thanksgiving, my group of high school friends reunited. And it was not just like old times.
Don’t get me wrong – it was great to see them and catch up with them in a way that Facebook chat and even Skype just don’t allow. It was comforting to ease back into our normal give and take. But even just a few months into school, it was clear that we had all changed: none of us for the worse, but all of us in subtle yet noticeable ways. It was beyond strange to hear people with whom I spent four years talk about their “friends” – people I didn’t know. One friend — a former slacker — had taken on a job, an internship and a newfound passion for pre-med classes. One friend joined a sorority, another talked about going out every night of the weekend and sometimes more. Everything I heard was a pretty stark difference from all of our social lives in high school.
I was happy for all of my friends, glad to hear about their newfound passions and contentment. But I couldn’t help but feel a little bit taken aback by how different things really were. I returned home the next day just a little bit melancholy, still glad to have rekindled important friendships, but at the same time fully coming to terms with the fact that our lives really are irreversibly different and undeniably separate now.
Somehow this realization of how things changed at home only made me like school more. Being away made me realize that I had missed my new friends and my school routine. It truly solidified the fact that I had made the right choice in coming to my school and that I was happy there — something that I guess I wasn’t entirely sure of before. It was also clear that while my friendships with my high school friends may evolve, I know that they will always be there for me and vice versa. And in listening to my college friends tell their own Thanksgiving break tales, it was clear that I was not the only one who felt that way.
Want to contact the author of this post? Email her at JulieZ@TheFBomb.org. Julie Zeilinger also edits and blogs for The F Bomb.