At the beginning of the year, I thought that sophomore year of college was going to be the best one yet. I had my friend group finally figured out, the clubs and organizations I was involved in established, my major set and I knew all the classes I was going to take. Freshman year is an awkward year. You’re trying to meet people and find your interests and make a career out of it, it’s just a blur. It’s the best and worst time. But sophomore year, I knew would be my year. This year was the year that I would be making memories with a lot of friends before they graduated because a majority of my closest friends were seniors. This year was supposed to be the golden year.
As it turns out, I began dwelling on all the lasts my friends would be experiencing, dwelling even more on the ones graduating in December and letting that cloud all of the fun times I’m supposed to be focusing on. While I thought this year would be full of good times, I’ve been freaked out over next year already and how lost I’m going to feel without them. It also seems that I’m so close to a double major that I have to decide whether I want to stay another semester or throw in the towel and call a minor good enough. My classes weren’t as set in stone as I thought and I added another class to my fall semester, topping off at 18 credit hours. My four-year-plan that’s supposed to lead me down a straight and narrow path keeps getting done and redone to fit in all the credits I’ll need to graduate. I’m trying to decide if I want to jet off to another place for a semester to study abroad. And I’m being asked to map out the next several years of my life on paper which just feels impossible.
But besides all of the changes with schedule and friend groups, I yet again felt placed here. Last year I shrugged off the thought because I was new to the town and hadn’t established myself, my friend group or things to be involved in. I thought once I got involved I’d feel right at home. But that ill feeling made itself known in my head again this semester when I came back to college after summer break. I’ve shoved it aside about a million times and yet it comes back. It makes me feel like I’m betraying my school because I love the place I attend so much. I have the best professors, all the tools I need to succeed, plenty of involvement and the best friends anyone could ask for. Why do I feel like I don’t belong? I started to go out and discover things about the town that I didn’t know yet, hoping that once I knew more about where I was living, I would feel better. While it’s helped to have these small triumphs, they don’t last long enough to make me feel like I’m a part of this place. The feeling of belonging comes in quick flashes. But momentarily, that feeling is gone. I love the beautiful campus I live on, I love my college. I just can’t seem to fall in love with the town. I start to feel claustrophobic and yearn for something more.
On my way back from fall break, I was driving through town back to campus and started noticing buildings I hadn’t seen before, places I hadn’t heard of and it made me think. Every time I’ve gone out to “discover,” it’s been a purposeful hunt to find something new and a small disappointment when I’d hit a dead end. But if I just took the time to walk a little slower, breathe a little deeper, or drive an extra mile, I might find things I didn’t notice before or see something in a different way. This town isn’t supposed to be “my home” the way my hometown is. It’s supposed to be new and different and it’s supposed to make me feel uncomfortable. Pushing me out of my comfort zone is the way to reach new milestones and make me figure things out on my own. I would never go out and explore or try to make this place my home away from home if I felt comfortable. My home is 134 miles away. But for now, I’ll continue to see this town for what it’s worth and appreciate the little things it offers. I’ll start focusing on the present and worry about the future later. My friends will all graduate no matter what so there’s no reason to dwell on it. And as for myself, time will tell what my path looks like. For now, I’ll dream about the excursions I’ll take while away for a semester… if my path happens to travel that way.