During my freshman year, I NEVER went home. I just loved Harvard too much. I remember the first time I went home was for Thanksgiving – a whole four days – and it felt like the longest 5,760 minutes of my life (not that I was counting). I wanted to be “back in the Pack” (or my freshman dorm Pennypacker) in my amazing room with all of my friends, and I never wanted to leave. The five weeks of J-term seemed like five lifetimes (I returned to campus early to take cooking courses), and by the time Spring Break rolled around, I was desperately looking for other options.
Now before you start thinking I have a terrible home life, I must assure you that nothing could be farther from the truth. I am the oldest of five children, and no one in the world gives me more love and acceptance and happiness than my parents and those kids. No matter what I am doing, I can always count on six fans that think I am the greatest thing since cooked meat.
Which is probably why after a year of seeing my family only intermittently, I came home from Barcelona and realized, “Hey wait. I actually miss these people a lot.” So when my mom called me a week ago and asked if I could fly home for a few days this weekend, my ready response was, “um… YES!”
So here I am in Pittsburgh on a Saturday night playing homebody, and taking a break from studying for midterms to write to you guys. This morning, I was awoken by my two brothers jumping on me at the unnatural hour of 9:30 am, and I spent the majority of the day studying and catching up with my sisters. This time last year I would probably be crying and texting my friends back at Harvard wondering what I was missing and what crazy adventures they were up to. But right now, I don’t even know where my phone is (oh great… 24 hours at home, and I’ve already lost my phone), and I feel just dandy having had a fantastic home cooked meal.
When I left home for college a year ago, my greatest fear was not “will I be able to make friends?” or “what if the dining hall food is awful?” or “what if I come back to my dorm to find my roommates sticking a voodoo doll of me with a pin?” My greatest fear was “what if after I leave, I come home and find that I can no longer integrate myself into my family? What if my youngest brother who is 10 years younger than I am grows up feeling like I was never a part of his life? What will happen when my sister starts Middle School, or my other sister gets her license, or my brother loses his first tooth, and I’m not there to be apart of it?” Once I arrived at Harvard, I got so wrapped up in what I was doing, I momentarily forgot about these worries.
The truth is all of these things do happen. It’s not like my family has stopped functioning because I’m not there – my sister still goes to school without me to drive her and my brothers still play hockey without me in the stands. But what I have learned is that it’s not so hard to re-integrate yourself back into the family life. The time you spend with your family just becomes that much more valuable.
Because life is so busy and exciting at Harvard, I don’t know when I’ll next be able to sneak away for a weekend at home (or if I’ll want to). But I have really enjoyed my weekend home (which is all I was going to write before I started going off about family this and family that, and this post got so long).
Hope everyone else is having a great weekend!
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