“Time to get back to work”
Here we are, back at school. For some reason completely beyond all semblance of rational thought, we have returned to St. Louis, the city that is cold, unforgiving and—according to my entire family—dangerous as hell. The truth is, when I left for break, I was excited to go home, ready even. After the stress of finals, it was time to head back to the relative warmth (emotionally speaking…I’m shorter than the total height of snow we got) of home, to bask in the love and care of parents and old friends. To not have to pay for a single meal and wake up every day completely rested. Ah, what a wonderful life.
But in the return home, I think we each rediscover the reason we came all the way out here in the first place, the reason why we became college students. It’s not the love of learning, or the joy of being in a new place (aside from the JProgs, we’ve all been here for months). We come back because after a month at home, we simply cannot stand it anymore.
I would like to think that we all love our families very much, but to a certain extent, we have lived away from them for too long, and when we go back, it doesn’t seem right to live under the same rules that we once did. You can’t exactly assert your independence, but you can’t not either, leaving you in a state of uncomfortable limbo with your parents.
Even worse is the fact that we don’t get along with our high school friends as much as we used to. People go to different schools in different cities and study different things. Some don’t even go away, opting for the local state school or community college. All of these are recipes for growth apart in a way that is incredibly sad.
We never think we change, probably because we are a little too close to the action, but when you try to go back to your old routine, it’s not as simple as riding a bike. Your old relationships don’t seem to fit anymore, and your old mannerisms feel more affected than natural. Friends drift apart, children grow more mature and as hard as we try to keep everything the way it used to be, things, seemingly inexorably, will change.
When my sister used to come home from college, I never understood why she was back for so long, constantly stealing the remote and generally annoying me for months at a time while I was stuck in school. Why do the breaks last so long? Because after a certain amount of time (for me it was probably more like 12 hours) we come to realize how uncomfortable it is being home and how much more interesting and stimulating it is to be at school.
So we return to school, sobered by the reality that we prefer to be here instead of having to deal with old friends who drift apart from us and families that irk us to no end. Of course, in the struggles of the semester ahead, all of us will forget what we learned over break, and begin to look forward to a time of “relaxation” that is actually less relaxing than constant testing and lack of sleep.
But until that time comes, I’m happy to be back. I have spent my life’s savings on my textbooks (again) and I know I’m ready for school, if only because I’m more comfortable here, now, than anywhere else in the world.