Most teenagers can't wait to graduate high school, move away from their parents, and go to college. They can't wait to spread their wings, make their own decisions and have the choice to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Believe me, I was there once, too. I was excited to leave the familiar and wander into a whole new adventure. Now I'm a freshman in college on my winter break. I just finished my first semester and it was sad to leave all my new friends, but boy, did it feel good to come home.
I live in California and go to school on the other side of the country. It's not that I wanted to be far away from home, I simply picked the school that I knew was best for me. I love where I attend college but being on the other side of the country prevents me from coming home as often as I'd like to. When I finally came home in late December, it was the first time I saw my family and friends since I left in August. That's a long time to be away from people you really care about. It's also a time to be away from the familiar.
If you haven't gone off to college yet and are just itching to leave home... well, I have to tell you, be careful what you wish for. There are a lot of things you might miss. Below is a list (in no particular order!) of stuff I missed while I was away at my first semester of college.
1. Food, glorious food!
You will miss food. Real food. Not the food you get from your university's cafeteria or the kind you are able to purchase with a meal plan. I'm talking about your mom's home-cooked meals and your favorite dish from your favorite restaurant in your hometown. Savor it all because by October you will be begging for your dad's homemade spaghetti or that ribs plate from your favorite steakhouse.
2. Your bed. Or your bedroom. Or both.
Dorm life is noisy. Walls are paper-thin and people are loud. Good luck getting to bed before quiet hours start! Also, while living in a dorm, there is no such thing as privacy. Coming home to my own bedroom and bed was just heavenly. At home you are able to sleep with no disturbances and go to bed as early or late as you want. At least for the most part. Enjoy it, kids -- you will miss your cozy, comfortable bedroom!
Your second family! The odds are that you will not be going to the same college as your best friends -- but that's okay! It's good to meet new people and form new relationships, but if you have a really special bond with a friend or group of friends from high school, don't let that go! When you come home from your first semester of college, it's great to get back together with "old" friends to catch up, vent, and hang out at all your favorite places.
4. Your shower
Don't laugh. I swear, you're going to miss your shower. You won't believe the countless amount of tweets and Facebook statuses I've read that said something along the lines of, "Back at home and am SO happy that I don't have to wear flip flops in the shower" or "Yay! No communal showers and no more running out of hot water!" You'll definitely miss your shower and the privacy of your own bathroom. Oh, and maybe singing the shower as loud as your heart desires... or was that just me?
5. 'Ohana means "family"
Can't live with them, can't live without them. Don't take your parents or siblings for granted. Believe it or not, you'll probably end up missing your family the most.
Maybe these things seem obvious or maybe you're rolling your eyes because you can't see how you will ever miss your annoying little sister. But I never thought I'd miss my own bedroom or shower so much. I never thought I'd be counting down the days until I go home so that I could see my family and friends and eat a home-cooked meal. Whereas it seems that right now, at this moment in your life, you just cannot wait to leave home, don't forget to cherish the small things. The things you do or use constantly and the people you see everyday. Those are the things that will really make you homesick.
Time will fly by and before you know it you'll be an adult and will be whisked off ready to start a new adventure. It will be scary and challenging but hopefully you'll find comfort in the fact knowing that these things will always be waiting for you at home.
(Okay, okay, sappy rant, over-- now go finish those college applications, or your homework, or that Netflix show... or whatever!)