Two years ago, I was a high school senior dreaming of being a Vanderbilt student. I resented everything about my small town and longed for the day in which I would leave Easton, Maryland for bigger and better things. I claimed that I would never come back – that I was meant to be far far away from home.
Yet here I am. Fall break of my second year at Vanderbilt and I chose to come home. While a majority of my friends were soaking up the sun and having some good old-fashioned college fun on the coast of Alabama, I was sporting fall clothes and a floppy hat as I walked through the crisp autumn air and charming streets of my little hometown.
It’s funny how much college can make even the most adventurous of us homebodies. I don’t know if it’s the relief of not having to wear shower shoes or the abundance of home cooked meals, but being home is unparalleled to any other form of relaxation for a college student. The small town that I used to resent has transformed into my safe haven from the stresses of life at school. My worries at home involve whether or not I filled the dog’s water bowl or put my dishes in the dishwasher rather than how I am going to find time to fit sleep into my busy schedule.
Vanderbilt is great. It’s more than great. It’s quite honestly amazing. This weekend, I was listening to a podcast featuring the president of Harvard, a woman, who spoke about how the opportunities for women today are so much greater than they were in the past. She discussed the fact that had she gone to Harvard, she most likely would not have ever become the president because during that period women were not given the same opportunities in college or in the real world. Today, I do not feel inferior to my male peers. I have never once questioned my own competencies due to the fact that I am a female. Vanderbilt is providing me with an exceptional education complemented by beneficial campus involvement and a healthy social environment.
However, it can be exhausting.
And that’s why I found myself at home this weekend. I resisted the urge to accept spending money from my parents for my next adventure (to the Netherlands in November) in exchange for a plane ticket to Easton for the weekend. Some may ask why I would ever pass up shopping in Europe for a few days in my tiny town. The answer is midterms. And meetings. And never-ending homework. The list goes on and on. The bottom line is that home is home and despite what my 17-year-old self thought, it truly isn’t so bad.
In fact, it was amazing. From having lunch with my dad across from the quaint courthouse to spending a day exploring the town with my mom and family friends, there was a certain level of effortless comfort that came with being home. I was able to snuggle with my dogs, sleep in my own bed, and shower without shoes on (honestly, that might have been the best part).
My miniature adventures ranged from spending time with my family to chatting for hours with high school friends to driving down to the beach and enjoying a classic Sunday morning father-daughter run. In just a few days, I was able to experience the best of Easton.
Two years from today, I bet that I will be looking back on my time at Vanderbilt with a similar attitude. I will vaguely remember being overwhelmed with my academics, extracurricular activities, and social life, but my schedule will be even more complex by then and I will mostly view Vanderbilt as a place of familiar comfort and enjoyment.
It’s fascinating how quickly today will turn to tomorrow and tomorrow will become yesterday. For now, I will do my best to stop and take in today. Today, I am a Vanderbilt student and I could not be happier. My weekend at home was the perfect ephemeral escape, but that’s just what it was: an escape. No part of me wishes to stay at home forever. Easton is where I grew up, but I think I may have grown out of it.