Growing up, I was always that kid who called their mom to pick them up from sleepovers. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t like being away from home or because I missed my parents too much. Maybe it was a combination of both.
It’s funny because I was the one who started researching sleepaway camps and eventually found the one that my sister and I went to. I think it’s because I felt like it was something that big kids do. And yet, every phone call would end with me gulping down my tears, every visitor’s day would end with a counselor needing to calm me down and one year, every night I would fall asleep listening to my parent’s wedding song. It’s okay, laugh at me. My parents do.
When it came time for me to go away to college, I was so nervous. Would I be okay on my own? Surprisingly, I was fine! I mean, I ended up transferring but that’s a story for another time.
Like people say when relationships fall through, I’ve come to the realization that it’s not “you,” it’s me. It wasn’t where I was sleeping over or the summer camp I went to. I am just a homebody. I like having my two feet on the ground where I am most comfortable.
So when COVID hit and the world came to a halt and all college students were sent home, I really wasn’t devastated by the move.
I was made for this!
While a lot of my friends cried and were really sad to leave college, I came to terms with it pretty fast. Yes, I was sad that I’d be missing my first spring in Boston. Yes, I was sad because I finally felt like I found my groove in a new city and was finally enjoying college and it was put on pause. But…
I get to hang out with my twin sister, my parents and my dog? Sleep in my own bed? Not have to shower with shower shoes? This was a deal that I could be okay with.
Being someone that loves a routine and hates change, I found a good system at home that I have stuck with since March that consists of exercising daily, making pancakes way too often and putting most of my energy into my blog (shameless plug for operationhappinessblog.com or @operationhappinessblog on Instagram). Oh yeah, I also had online classes I had to squeeze in. But those didn’t cause any stress, just a lot of snack breaks and a severe focusing problem toward the end.
Initially, I would talk with my friends from school 24/7. It was like we never left. But as the months went on, I noticed that every day it would basically be the same: Hey, miss you! What’s new? Nothing? Same.
It became harder to talk to my friends every single day when there was literally nothing else to say. How was texting supposed to be the main form of communication I’d have with them for the next six months? Long distance is hard, especially when both parties are stuck at home doing nothing.
While I cherish my friendships greatly, if you know me, you know how important my family is to me. In high school, there were plenty of Friday nights where I said no to plans with friends because I would rather sit on the couch with my parents, eat candy and watch a movie.
Well, as you can imagine, there’s been plenty of candy eaten and plenty of couch sitting since March as a family. My parents were no longer empty nesters for a span of six months and I suddenly became attached to being home more than ever.
I was content. I couldn’t relate to the feelings of my sister or peers who were saying they just HAD to leave home and go back to school. Of course I want to go back, see my friends, decorate my apartment and eat from my favorite takeout place. I also know that if we were sent home again, I would be totally fine.
I can’t help but worry that leaving for my junior year of college is going to be much harder than leaving for school my freshman year. Things have changed. The world has changed. I’ve changed.
School is inevitably going to be different because of the times we are in. But I have a feeling that my habits will remain the same, now more than ever…me, sitting on my nonexistent couch because my apartment is the size of a toddler’s shoebox, eating candy and watching a movie with my roommates. Sorry Mom and Dad, you’ve been replaced. But I’ll be home soon.