Pulled Between Two Different Realities


Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Antonov

Courtesy of The Fordham Ram

As the new semester starts, everyone has so much going on. Between scrambling to gather all of your course textbooks and trying to reach out to friends you haven’t seen in a month, January is far from a relaxing month that eases us back into the semester. 

After a month of basically doing nothing, I have found that the back-to-school adjustment has definitely been a lot. Of course, “doing nothing” is not actually doing nothing. I only had a few days of winter break where I was actually able to lay in bed all day, as I often had some sort of errand to run or plan with a friend. Still, when those are basically the only responsibilities I had for a month, life suddenly felt like it came to a standstill.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like having a break. During the peak of finals, all I could think about was finishing all my work and finally being able to rest. Yet, when I did get home, it felt like being transported to a different time in my life. After being fully free to do whatever for three months, it felt odd to go back and suddenly not have the same freedoms. 

For example, at Fordham, I could take some sort of transportation to anywhere I wanted to go, or even just walk, and I did not have to tell anyone. While I most likely was just going to get lunch or pick up something at Target, it felt nice to be so independent. When I got home, I suddenly had to ask to borrow my parent’s car to go anywhere. It was also such an odd contrast driving around on highways that seemed to stretch on forever compared to the bustling subway of New York that you can virtually take anywhere in the city. 

I guess the contrast over break also depends where people are from. I am from a suburb of Pittsburgh, and while I still got a decent amount of city exposure growing up, it pales in comparison to the constant bustle of New York. I think this is another reason why the break feels so drastic, and I am guessing a lot of other students come from less busy areas too. The quiet is nice for a bit, but I soon found myself sitting at home missing the big city. 

Now, despite everything I just said about breaks being disruptive to my regular schedule, I am about to say something that seems to contradict that: It was hard to come back to Fordham. Even though I missed the routine I had, I didn’t want to have to say goodbye all over again.

After not seeing close friends for months, suddenly being able to hang out with them again 24/7 felt like a trip into the past. This time, though, there were no constraints of school or responsibilities. It definitely made me feel really nostalgic for when I was with them and led to reminiscing. 

All of this aside, I guess one of my main rambling lines of thought is that I thought leaving after each break would get easier. When I first left for college in the summer, it was definitely hard, but it felt like a coming of age moment. Even the uncertainty heading into a new place almost made it easier because I was going into the unexpected.

Now that I have officially been through two winter breaks, plus some holiday breaks, I think it has gotten harder to leave the place where I grew up. I think that each time I am thrown back into the past, it is harder to leave because I know all the impending pressures and responsibilities of school. Not that this new semester isn’t exciting, but I become expectant and nervous at the same time.

Overall, after probably much nonsensical writing, I want to say that the point is that growing pains are normal. College is so tumultuous that often they won’t go away after the first year, and they continue to happen on the road to adulthood. And it might be weird to bounce back and forth between school and home throughout the year, but I realized these years are my last chance to  experience both simultaneously. While the transition can sometimes seem confusing and unbearable, I think the discomfort is what makes the overall experience so much better.