By Samantha Milowitz || Staff Writer
Thanksgiving. A magical time of the year when all of your family members are gathered together to eat mashed potatoes and discuss your relationship status. A time when massive balloons are the cause for chaos on the streets of New York. A time when college kids from all across the country gather in train stations, bus stations, and airports to be home for the holiday, only to return to school one week later.
Any college kid will tell you that going home for Thanksgiving has its positives and negatives. A positive being you get to eat non-dining hall food and a negative being your high school life coming back to haunt you (you know). Being home for me becomes an odd mixture of resorting back to being a child while playing a game of “who’s thriving the most?” with people from my high school. I’ve noticed that when one comes home from college they are doing either of the two: hanging out with their friends like they are still in high school or dodging them like the plague. There is no in between. In New York City, where I’m from, dodging people is not much of an option since you are guaranteed to bump into someone you know at any time, making plans to hang out but not wanting to follow through.
Coming home presses the resume button on high school, as gossip erupts with who’s flunking out and who’s doing well. Some people go back to high school and look around, trying to spot what is different or if there are any pictures of them still left on the wall. When I went back to my high school last year, I couldn’t help but think that the building got smaller while I had been gone and I started to feel claustrophobic. I looked at my old school pictures, trying to see if I looked like the adult that I thought I would grow up to be, but still nothing yet.
The fascination of college life, though, doesn’t come as much from other people our age but from the adults who are more removed from the college days. Every person I come into contact with when I’m home asks me about college: “How’s college?” “What are you majoring in?” “Isn’t it the best?” Then those questions become rhetorical as they start to reminisce about the “good old days,” and the questions become less about you and more about them. I often wonder if during their college days they thought this incessant questioning was as fun as they think it is now.
I’ve forgotten what people used to quiz me about: what other aspects of my life did people ask me about before I started college? I mean, even when I wasn’t in college, the questions concerned where I was going to go to college. Coming home, I could see it in my family friend who had applied ED and is refusing to tell anyone where she applied: but that’s all they want to know. Why do we care so much? As I asked, my brain was telling me not to hound her, to remember how I felt then and still feel today.
Being home brings college more into focus for me than being at college. Once I’m home, I can understand how I don’t live there anymore; that I spend more time somewhere else, alone, than I do with my family. In high school, I couldn’t fathom what life would be like on my own, and now, I’m on my own. When you watch as college students pile into trains with backpacks and homemade sandwiches their mother’s make them for the train, you can see that we’re all still kids.That we haven’t exactly begun to “adult” yet, that we’re still figuring it out. I think the fascination of college stems from how none of can believe we are doing it, or attempting to do it.
Sophomore Samantha Milowitz is a Staff Writer. Her email firstname.lastname@example.org.