Being away from home isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be


I realize that probably every Hills­boro High School student has, at some point, thought this exact thing: “I just want to get out of this place.” I have definitely been included in that group. My desire to “escape” Hillsboro was one of the main reasons I chose to attend North Park.

Now that I’m here, though, I realize being away from Hillsboro isn’t really all it’s talked up to be.

I miss Hillsboro.

There! I said it! Crazy, right?

I think I’m going to make this column an “Ode to Homesick­ness.” I’ve felt pretty solid up until this point but right now, it’s like all I want to do is be at home and hang out with my mom for the evening.

As far as friends go, I just miss being around people who have known me long enough to really know me. Hillsboro was full of people I felt comfortable around, and without that cushion, everything is different. It’s awesome to meet new people everywhere I go, but it also gets old. Sometimes I just want everything and everyone to be comfortably familiar.

I was the person who always bagged on high school, talking about how stupid it was and how I couldn’t wait to be done. Now, though, I wish I had chosen to enjoy high school a little bit more. Nothing can ever be perfect, but I think that if I could go back in time, I’d more fully enjoy the moments I got to spend with the people around me instead of longing for the freedom and independence of college.

I always heard people talking about how college is about “discovering who you are” and all that. I honestly thought I had this nailed down toward the end of high school. Guess not.

As I learn about the people around me, I continue to learn more about myself. The only things that people here know about me are things that I’ve told them or things that they’ve observed through my actions. There’s just so much to each person. So many layers, so much depth. When I remember my Hillsboro friends, I forget that I had to learn them, too, at some point. Nothing is automatic; it all takes time.

I know all this crappy transition stuff is all part of growing, but I’m not really a fan of it. A lot of times I wonder if I made the right decision coming here. I think I did…. I have to grow up at some point, right?

It’s also way harder than I thought to be away from my family. I can’t even describe how badly I wish I could spend a whole day just hanging out with them. I don’t think I necessarily took my family for granted in high school, but I never realized how much they really meant to me until I was too far away to do anything about it.

I miss cruising in the car with my dad. When I was home for fall break a few weeks ago, we drove for almost two hours, just talking. I also miss all the times we’d go out for lunch and then smell like Subway all day long.

I miss watching lame TV shows with my mom and sitting around, talking and hanging out. The things I miss the most about her aren’t the “mommy” things that she’d do for me—like cooking or doing laundry. I just miss the companionship that we shared. She’s honestly my best friend, and being away from someone you’re that close to is like missing part of yourself.

I miss taking my little brother to Sonic…even if he is just using me for free ice cream. Jacob has seriously grown like nine feet since I left, and I just want to hang out with him and get to know him now that he feels like an actual person capable of just as much as I am.

You know when you revisit an old neighborhood or an area where you used to live? That feeling that just washes over you…memories come flooding back, and you just feel at peace? That’s exactly how I felt when I came home for fall break. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of Hillsboro. I want to put them up in my room so I can remember what home feels like.

This is a feeling I’m just not used to. I’ve always been able to make friends easily and connect with lots of different people. That’s still the case here, but I feel like part of me is missing because Hillsboro is so far away. I’ll be home for Thanksgiving in about two weeks, and then home for an entire month over Christmas break.

I hope that will give me my “Hillsboro fix” so I can get back to life in Chicago…missing home, but also remembering the main reason I wanted to “get out”: growth.

(Kendra read this and thought of the song “In My Life” by The Beatles. She would.)


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