The period of time between high school graduation and college move in day become some of the most chaotic days of your life.
You’re still running on the high of walking across stage and receiving your diploma, but somehow have to prepare yourself for the first big step in your life. You feel like you should relax — but you also need to hang out with all of your friends and make sure you get to work on time.
It’s an extremely hard transition period, because there’s hardly any time to breathe. Surely, leaving for college the second time around should prove to be much easier.
Somehow it isn’t.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m an extremely sentimental person. I have a tendency to linger over any of my “lasts” (my last time sleeping in my own bed before going back to school, my last time driving my car before leaving, etc.) — and it makes me strangely emotional. Last summer I did my best to push all of that aside just so I could get through the couple of months before school. In fact, I refused to think of leaving for college at all.
When it came time to leave, I cried until my eyes hurt.
However, as I wrap up this summer, I can’t help but think back to May — my first few days at home after finishing my freshman year. I made cupcakes with my best friend and ran by the river with my boyfriend. It’s three months later though it feels like only yesterday. All I have now are the Snapchat memories to look back on.
Even though it’s only been a year, I feel much older than last summer. I have more experiences and nine months of knowing what living in a college dorm is like. After living at home for 18 years, the prospect of moving out and beginning college seems so exciting — it’s the first taste of freedom. Your first summer back, though, you have to somehow assimilate to living with your parents again.
You think, it shouldn’t be that hard, right?
It’s actually much harder than you think it is. A couple of months at home isn’t enough time to live out of your boxes, so you have to unpack your life and act like you’re in high school again. Honestly, living at home brought me back to the days of waking up at 5:30 a.m. and sitting at uncomfortable desks for seven hours straight.
Each time I pull back into my driveway it feels like I’m coming home from school and I should be slinging my bookbag over my shoulder before coming inside.
It’s a really strange, yet comfortable feeling. Because now I know what it’s like to be away.
I know what it’s like to not get annoyed when your parents ask you about your day as you trudge inside after school. To come downstairs to the dinner table and groan about eating steak again. Pushing your dogs off of you when they jump all over you after you get home. I know what it’s like to not really think about how your best friend lives just ten minutes away.
I understand all of the things I took for granted while I was a high schooler. It wouldn’t have made sense to me before going to college, but now I know. With the several months I’ve had during the summer, I’ve tried my best to make the most of every moment — to spend as much time with friends, watch as many movies as possible with my mom and hug my dogs whenever I can.
With the summer coming to an end, it just doesn’t feel like nearly four months was enough time.
Sure, I’m not leaving forever, and I’ll be back in a few months for Thanksgiving — but it won’t be moving back in. It’ll be living out of boxes for a week. It won’t be the same.
After spending a year in college, you realize that you’re actually an adult now. You have to pull up your big kid pants and do things on your own now. So, it’s nice to feel like a high schooler again for the few months you have during the summer. That’s when you were safe from the real world and didn’t have to think about student loans.
So, at the end of the summer, I realize I’m about to come back to another year of missing all of the little things I resented while I lived at home. I’ll spend the next year wishing I could drive to my boyfriend’s house on the weekends.
None of this means I didn’t enjoy myself during my first year in college.
It was wild, crazy and some of the best days of my life. But it all just reminded me of the things I never realized I loved about being home.
As I pack all of my things up to terrorize the campus for my second year at school, I can’t help but remember all of the memories I created this summer. All of the things I obsessively planned doing over break but never got around to doing. I think that I didn’t have enough time to enjoy everything that I was missing.
Time just moves by so fast. Enjoy your summer days at home while you can.