October and November are always difficult months for me. The excitement of the new school year is over, the temperatures are getting cooler and midterms are quickly approaching. It is also the beginning of the holiday season, a time that is represented by warmth, food and above all, family. However, being at college, thousands of miles from home (and now even continents apart), makes me feel distanced from those warm, holiday feelings.
Growing up, my little brother and I had very specific traditions for each holiday. For Halloween, we decorated the entire front yard, planned our costumes weeks in advance and mapped out the best trick or treat route to maximize our loot of “big sized candy bars”. On Thanksgiving, we would wake up early and watch the Macy’s parade in our PJs together, snuggling on the couch and eating warm cinnamon rolls. It’s hard when traditions change. It’s hard to grow up. And above all, it is hard to be far away from the people you love.
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have in this life. I love attending Wellesley. I wouldn’t trade this semester in Europe for anything. Still, it doesn’t stop these feelings of missing out on what is happening at home. When I left for college, my little brother was exactly that: little. He wasn’t even in high school yet, his voice hadn’t deepened and I was still taller than him. Now, he is a senior, applying to college and over six feet tall. I missed a large part of his “growing up” stage and I am sad about that.
I also feel guilty. My family has had an incredibly hard last two years and many of those things are still too personal and raw for me to share with anyone publicly. Sometimes, I feel guilty for being so far away when I know the people at home, especially my little brother, need me.
Earlier this semester, I cried over FaceTime to my boyfriend. “What’s wrong?” He asked, concerned. I was in Europe. I was traveling all over the continent. Why was I upset? “I feel guilty. I feel like I am not where I am supposed to be.” I responded. “You are exactly where you are supposed to be.” He responded, without a skipping a beat. Deep down, I knew he was right. I needed to live my life and grow as a person which is exactly what college and travel experiences are for. I needed to remember that these things I was experiencing, and am experiencing, only happen once and I need to allow myself to enjoy them. Since that conversation, I have tried to throw the guilt out the window and remember that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
This post is meant to remind you that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Each moment & each experience allow you to grow as a person. In the end, it is impossible to be there for the people you love if you aren’t growing and experiencing life yourself.