Life is not a Squishy Bagel

I went home last Friday for long weekend. It was really nice to be back, to see a bunch of faces I haven’t seen in a while, to remember what it’s like to go to sleep in my own bed in my own bedroom, to snuggle with my cat and hear my dog’s all-too-familiar grumble.

Sunday, I realized I hadn’t spent much time by myself, and that’s probably the one thing that helps me wind down and really relax. I had twenty-four hours before I had to return to the dorm, and I wanted to stay home a little longer. That evening, I was overcome with sadness and dread. Not because I didn’t want to go back to school, but because I wanted to be home, too.

I want to be at school and at home at the same time.

I feel like time didn’t pass while I was away. I might’ve blamed a time machine if it weren’t for the fall weather and the length of my dog’s hair. I stopped by a fundraiser for a club I was involved in last year, and if it hadn’t been freezing cold, I could have been chatting with old friends like it were still June. It was a reunion, but I felt like I’d seen them just the week before, when in fact it had been more than six. I asked how things were going and got caught up, but the three of us (shoutouts to J and C!) might have been in the hallway of my old school waiting for our teacher to show up if I hadn’t remembered the five weeks I’d just spent at school.

Time passes weirdly here. Campus is a bubble. There’s no real need to go out once you’re in.

I think, in an environment of overachievers, I was bound to doubt myself eventually. Last week was my first really hard one here, and I’m well aware that there are many more to come. But the stress is what makes the easy nights easy, and at the end of the day, it’s what brings satisfaction. Finishing a challenging week is so much more gratifying than strolling through an easy one.

And I think you can be sad to come back but happy to be back. Because it’s been another week of the grind, and I’m comfortable and happy again, and I feel like I never left, like I never had that moment of being overwhelmed with returning to classes after all the work I’d just finished.

I’ve come to understand that you can have more than one true home. Time doesn’t pass in one while you’re in the other, and driving 45 minutes to the other world is like picking up a novel where you left off the night before, or calling your best friend back after losing the connection, or reheating frozen pizza and going on with your leftover dinner. Except it doesn’t taste any less delicious, and it’s not squishy and then rock hard like a microwaved bagel.

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