This past weekend I attended my college’s homecoming and for the first time I felt like I really didn’t belong. I graduated a few years ago and now I don’t know anyone who is an undergraduate and everything on campus is changing: new buildings, new stadium, and new faces.
It’s strange getting the feeling that a place that was your home for four years is no longer your home. I guess this is part of the growing up.
I felt the same way at my parents’ house over Thanksgiving last year. I was in my childhood bedroom, but felt like I wasn’t sleeping in my bed anymore, despite the fact that the bed at my parent’s house it is literally the exact same bed that I have in my bedroom at my apartment.
I know this isn’t a monumental revelation. Of course, any well-adjusted adult has (hopefully) moved on with their life since graduating from college. I’ve formed new friendships and community in a new city and I have no desire to remain in college or even return to the “good old days.”
Being back at the college just made me realize this even more. I did feel nostalgic and excited to be back on campus and reminisce, but it’s not the same. In my memory the physical college – the quad, the academic buildings, my freshman dorm, the library, etc. – is my home, but really what made it home for four years wasn’t these places, it was the people.
After this weekend I feel simultaneously less and more connected to the college.
I obviously don’t belong in college anymore. (Thankfully!) As I was waiting for my friends to arrive at a tailgate, I realized I didn’t really know anyone else who was already there. If I hadn’t made plans I would have nothing to do and been alone on a campus that was once my community.
On the other hand, college had and continues to have a large impact on my life. Like many, some of my best friendships were formed in college and today I stay in touch with many of these friends regularly. Despite distance and our busy day-to-day lives, I still see them often and we would be friends whether or not we return to college for homecoming. Even some people who I never met in college have become my friends since graduating because we both attended the same college.
Naturally, there’s a time and a place for everything in life and staying in one stage is impossible. I will always be grateful for my time in college, for the rigorous academics and schoolwork, for the character building and most of all for the friendships. I’m also excited for what the next stage in life will bring.
Feature photo taken by A Lively Fancy.