I’m home. I’m home, and although that doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal, I can assure you, it is. It’s been almost seven months since the last time I landed in Florida. Seven months since I’ve seen either of my parents’ faces, seven months since I pet my dog or hugged my brother. Seven months since I’ve seen the ocean, or experienced what true humidity is. When I think about it, that’s almost the same number of months I spent in class this year during my first two semesters at Georgetown.
So why has it been so long?
Truthfully, I don’t know. I could tell you I was trying to save money on airfare by not flying home for any breaks (true). I could tell you I love Georgetown too much to ever leave (ha, false). That it was too much of a hassle to put my stuff in storage (true). That minimum wage in D.C. was way better than back home in Florida (true). That my job on campus was a guaranteed 30 hours a week when I wasn’t sure my old job would hire me back for just the summer (true).
The truth? Logistically and logically, it was easier and made sense to stay at school. However, I’ve been coming to realize, the more I make decisions based on logic instead of emotion, the more often I’ve been cripplingly disappointed for not choosing differently.
I’ve been scared to come home. Last summer, I promised myself that I would leave and I’d never come back. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but I planned on not spending any significant amount of time back home after I left for college. Successful people don’t need to go home, I told myself. Successful people don’t waste their summers, they use them to travel or gain field experience to get ahead. Successful people move on.
I don’t think it’ll come as a shock if I say my idea of what it means to be successful has undergone some major revisions this year. The most frightening part about going away to college wasn’t moving 800 miles, sharing a room with a stranger, talking to professors, or not knowing a soul. It was that being away from everything I had ever known left me alone to face my own demons and craft my own ideas about who I was and what I wanted from life.
I was scared to become who I really was. I was scared because who I thought I was had locked me into a four-year deal with a place that subscribed to everything I realized I no longer wanted. It took stepping away from home to learn that my idea of success was built upon what others had expected from me and not what I wanted for myself. I could have come back to where I learned that I didn’t have to stay at a place that made me unhappy, even if that meant experiencing college in an unconventional way. But I didn’t come back. And so I didn’t learn.
Home was the place where I inherited ideas of myself that weren’t true, and home could have been the place where I crafted new values to live by, if I wasn’t so afraid to return.
I’m home now. I may have had to face all these questions and figure out the answers away from any sense of familiarity, but I’ve emerged as a new person. Even though it’s only for a week, I’m back where it all started, hoping it doesn’t take me so long to find my way back next time.
Cyrena Touros is a rising sophomore in the College. The Outsider appears every other Wednesday.
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