The familiar smell of new textbooks. The “new” ‘first day of school’ skirt that I bought in June at Urban Outfitters and promised myself I wouldn’t wear all summer (but wore anyway because I couldn’t let it get lonely in my closet). The herds of freshmen hallmates traveling in the masses around campus. This school year, the blending of things old and new has already gone far beyond new clothes and welcoming the freshmen into the Tribe. To be honest, when I came back to school on August 21st, I had a mild identity crisis.
When I left Williamsburg in the spring, I was a bit of a, er, hot mess. Although mentally, physically and emotionally drained, I dreaded going “home” and being stranded without all of my best school friends for a full three months. I decided not to go home and instead, to throw myself into an internship with a non-profit in Philadelphia (see Love from the City of Brotherly Love post) and live with my lovely older sister.
Things in Philly weren’t always hunky-dory (making dinner every single night gets old after about a week) but I enjoyed my time soaking up the city, meeting new people and obviously interning. As fate had it, my older sis landed a new job in DC mid-summer and moved there immediately, so I moved back to dirty Jerz earlier than I had originally expected to. However, I am thankful that I got to work with a handful of super passionate individuals that are making a difference in the lives of others across the Atlantic. Besides my work with Power Up Gambia, the most satisfying part of living in Philadelphia was all of the time I spent by myself. I know you are probably thinking that I am some kind of weird social misfit for admitting that, but I learned that time alone is truly time for self-discovery.
Between train rides, watching episodes of Glee on my computer and lots of nature-trail running, some major thinking took place. Trivial things I learned: I can live without a television, a microwave and without my own car. Always carry a book and an umbrella. Don’t follow the ‘crazies’ across the street. Bagels take a really long time to toast in the oven. Important things I learned: Happiness often comes when you stop searching for it. A hug or pat on the back on a hard night can make waking up the next morning a bit easier. My parents are incredible (thanks again for putting up with me). I also took away the phrase “home is where you are”. I went back to my home in New Jersey refreshed and spent the remainder of my summer with friends old and new, living the beach life. It was a fabulous summer.
So back to my identity crisis- about a week ago (the night before move-in), I laid in a hotel bed, thinking of all the stresses I let go of at the end of last semester and how calming the summer was. I suddenly felt like a stranger. I was last seen in Williamsburg fried and frazzled but I have come back collected. The first week of classes was smooth sailing and I have decided that my only option is to blend the best of the old with the best of the new. I am certainly not a stranger to this school.
I have the same circle of friends- people I have diligently kept in touch with and those I look forward to reconnecting with. I have the same amazing team (plus some new little freshies) to train with every day. I have a passion for learning and a drive to help others. In addition, I have a new cross country coach who I look forward to working with and two brand new pairs of Brooks sneakers. I have an apartment with brand new furniture and three of my best friends as my roommates. I have an entire school year of blank pages waiting to be painted with coffee dates, football games, track workouts, (occasional) late nights spent studying, cross country meets, ice baths, meetings, homework, dance parties, birthday-cake baking and who knows what else. Here’s hoping everyone is getting situated and glad to be back in the swing of things. Welcome home to the Burg, everybody.