By Jessica Marie Clayton
When I was in high school, I remember sitting in my classes for eight hours every day, daydreaming about how great college was going to be. I always used to say how excited I was to leave my little Southwest Georgian town for the hustle and bustle of a college town.
I took my mother’s cooking, the simplicity of my lazy town, and the constant presence of my dog for granted.
Now that I’m spending complete months away from my family and my hometown, I’m aware of the nostalgic feeling that accompanies my thoughts on the subject. I actually get excited about going home now when seven months ago, I only got excited to leave, and even then I grew sad upon returning. During my whole duration of time in high school, I unnoticeably grew more and more complacent and I knew I had to get out of my hometown.
I felt as though my progress was evolving into stagnation and my muse to write, to experience new, novel things, and to better myself was rapidly disappearing. But now? I feel as though those feelings of making no progress and being slowly suppressed by the small town mindset is not able to have an impact on me anymore. Instead of dreading Americus, I now have a feeling of hope and excitement deep in my heart when I think of it because that’s where the people (and animal) that I love with all of my heart are.
Coming to college has given me way more perspective on just how much I do love my family. The old saying that distance makes the heart grow fonder is definitely true. Thinking back to when I lived at home and saw my parents every single day, I think I only averaged saying “I love you” to them about three times a month, if that. Ever since coming to college, I call and tell my family that I love them every single day like clockwork.
I find it comforting that even though I’m more than three hours away from them, that we still are able to stay connected with one another. And since being away from them is becoming normal, I’m constantly becoming more and more aware of the fact that they are ageing, just as I am. This mere fact makes me oh so sad because I realize that I will never again spend as much time with them on a daily basis as I did before I graduated high school. From that point forward, I’m forced to make the most of every millisecond I’m able to spend with my parents because time is ever fleeting.
I went home for Fall Break and those three days honestly flew by. When I was loading my suitcase into my car to head back to college, my mother said something that stuck with me. She said, “It seems like you just got here, and now you’re already leaving again.”
It’s crazy thinking about how fast time is passing. It’s a good thing when it is a Wednesday in the beginning of November and you’re dying for Thanksgiving Break, but it’s a drawback when you look up after eating the Thanksgiving Feast with your family and realize that you have to get back to reality and leave them again. And that’s the precise moment that the feelings hit you and you are made aware of how appreciative you are to have your family.
During those times when you are able to go back home and just spend quality time with the ones you love and who have your best interests at heart, you ignore all of the flaws and annoyances that made you want to run off to college in the first place.