I’ve been home for two weeks, and there are still messy piles of clothes littering my bedroom floor. Clothes? On my floor? What an unlikely prospect. Maybe it’s my way of not wanting to unpack the past 9 months of my life. Perhaps, I’m not ready to let go of my freshman year. However, it’s most likely my sheer laziness. Two weeks ago, I packed my small 12×20 foot dorm room into 8 boxes, 3 containers, and 4 overstuffed suitcases. I went over the 50lb Southwest Airline bag limit, and spent $75 for those precious extra 11 pounds. I boarded my flight alone, and watched the beloved skyline of my newest home fade into the distance until it was no longer visible, until it no longer existed.
My freshman year of college was both less and more than I expected. It wasn’t like the movies. It was worse. It was better. I didn’t meet a cute boy on move in day, or during my entire year there. In fact, I rekindled my junior year relationship and now have a boyfriend who lives in Norway. Yes, the country. As in Europe. Like a million miles away. Weird.
It also didn’t feel like home on the first day, and there weren’t a million a cappella groups with Anna Kendrick-like people serenading me. There weren’t parties every night (well, I just didn’t know about them all yet), and I was surrounded by thousands of people who knew nothing about me. For the first few weeks, I was slightly homesick in the sense that I could not find one person who knew what or where Easton, Maryland was. I didn’t immediately make best friends; my closest friends are probably still those from high school. Don’t get me wrong – I love the girls I met at Vanderbilt, but it was only 9 months. It’ll take time for my new best friends to be as close to me as the people I’ve known since I was two, four, and six. But it’ll happen. I know I’ll see some of those girls 20, 30, and 50 years down the road.
Anyway, it was also so much better than I ever expected. It was the best year of my life. I met people from everywhere. I went from only having friends in Easton, Maryland to having friends from New York to Colorado to California to Washington to Iowa to Ohio to Georgia to Texas to Louisiana and all over the map. I learned more about myself than I ever have. I’ve also never been more confused about what I want to do and where I want go. I gained 200 new sisters, and one that will forever be the older sister I always wanted. I ran a half marathon – something I never thought I would be capable of doing. I saw Taylor Swift live for $34. I helped raise $161,923.15 for the kids. I was intellectually stimulated beyond my dreams. I met the most interesting, passionate, intelligent people I have ever encountered. I ate endless chocolate chip pancakes, saw way too many cowboy boots, and laughed harder than I ever have.
This past year was not a fairytale. It wasn’t anything worth documenting in a movie. But it was mine. It was the first year of my life that was truly my own. Today, I sit in my childhood bedroom filled with excitement for the summer ahead. I cannot wait to hangout with my best friends in the world, work weddings on the Bay every Saturday, and travel to Europe for the first time and experience another culture firsthand. But with messy piles of clothes on my floor, I secretly wish I could be back in Nashville. As thrilled as I am to have four months of summery bliss, a part of me wants to go home.