My CA (like an RA) told me before the year was out that going home the summer after your freshman year of college is weird and I would hate it. I didn’t want to believe her. I’d gone home now for October break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring break, and a week where mono hit me like a freight train. I could handle going home, especially since I had to be on campus early in August for CA training myself.
I’ve been home ten days and I’m fantasizing about my no-AC dorm room, sans roommate but still.
It’s not that I suddenly hate everyone here. I love my parents, I love my siblings, I love my dog, and I love my high school friends that are trickling back into the area. But I have never felt more out of place. Not even in middle school, although that comes close in terms of how self-conscious, how awkward, how constantly-low-level-uncomfortable I am. I am home, but I’m not.
I feel emotionally homeless, which sounds terrible. I know, logically, that I am home, and college is not home by any means. But I don’t feel like my hometown is where I belong, and it doesn’t help when your brother is constantly reminding you that you don’t live here anymore. I feel out of place, like people notice me as an outlier, as someone who doesn’t belong here. But at college, I’m just another college kid in a small college town, which almost all of them leave after graduation because you can’t get anywhere in life if you stay in rural central Ohio, right?
Maybe it’s how much I have to be careful here. I’m not out to my brothers, any of my extended family, and most adults I know, save for a couple who kind of witnessed my self-realization occur (and helped it along by accident). A lot of things that happened at college were, frankly, pretty gay. My friends are all some kind of queer except for our “token straight friend.” I spent the majority of my weekends in my girlfriend’s dorm room. My aunt was visiting and asked if my roommate (who woke up early during the week) also woke up early on weekends and I had to lie because I honestly didn’t know.
I love college. I love being home. I just wish it felt more like it.
Title from “Jersey” by Mayday Parade.