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A Teen's View

Coming Home

Olivia Sielaff

(12/2011) Nothing is more enticing and distracting to a college student than the close proximity of a break. This is especially true when it is the first break of the semester. The topic of discussion before the professor walks into class is where everyone is going for break, how far away home is, and who can catch a ride with someone else. The students are working extra diligently to get as much homework done so it doesn’t distract them on break, or they are so distracted by the idea of a break that homework and classes seem basically pointless. There’s a certain hubbub on campus, especially the day before a break starts, which is contagious and leaves everyone itching to just take some time off.

My first break this semester was over Halloween weekend, but I could have cared less about the holiday that gives you candy for dressing up. I was looking forward to a holiday at home where treats such as sweet sleep and hot showers are coveted. The entire week beforehand, I was dreaming of those four days where I could wake up in my own bed whenever I wanted to, not have to go to classes, and then be able to see family and friends. I honestly could not wait for this break. But I was also apprehensive as to what it would really be like to go home for the first time in three months.

The night I came home, I think I was happier to see my bed than my family and pet dog. Not really. But there was something different about my bed, about my room. Everything was in the same place I left it back in August, but my bed seemed really low to the ground and my room seemed small and empty. I stopped for a second, staring at my bed, because I knew it was never that low to the ground. But then I realized I was so used to the dorm beds at college being raised. When I went into the bathroom to take a long-awaited long shower, I noticed my feet weren’t used to the bathroom floor being so warm and the shower being so spacious. Those first few hours I was back felt as if I was in my house for the first time again. I had forgotten about the echoes in my house, the way the washing machine sounds, and how soft our toilet paper is. Initially, I couldn’t believe how I possibly could have forgotten these details so quickly and become used to living in my dorm. Why was everything so new to me? Things I had never really paid attention to before were the first things I noticed. So this is what it felt like to be a guest in my own house.

After that first night, though, it didn’t take long for me to switch back into "home mode." Unfortunately the freak snow shower that weekend ruined some of my plans to visit family and run errands, but I was at least able to sleep in until noon and then spend the rest of the day at home just relaxing. There was a birthday party for my grandpa, so I caught up with my extended family. I visited some friends from high school and stopped by to see my one friend at her college. I went to Sunday Mass at St. Anthony’s and saw my favorite people, the Shields. I even handed out candy in town on Halloween and was able to see some of the local Emmitsburgians.

Those four days flew by so quickly, but reminded me of the other life I had before going to college. It felt as if I was in high school again because my life that weekend depended on the schedule of my family. I could easily become used to living dependently on my family again, having them remind me what I need to do. Just as quickly as I had forgotten about living at home, I almost forgot that I had to go back to college. But go back I did, against my desire to just end the semester then.

My first break from college went over pretty well. I didn’t know how different it would feel to come back to a place I hadn’t seen in three months, how much it seemed like I was leading a "double life." But as I had hoped for back in August before I left for college, home and Emmitsburg haven’t changed. So when I come back for Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, I can pick up right where I left off. Until then, I will try to stay focused on my homework…

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