Picnics on the lawn, people in sunglasses and shorts — it looks like, at last, summer is upon us.
Summer is inseparably associated with long breaks as well as a series of questions like: What are you doing? What is your plan? Where will you be?
As we entered the final week of the school year, we were all preoccupied with studying and our exams. We continued the daily routine of going to Lau, studying and taking breaks. Once in a while, brain-drained and exhausted, we would think of summer and the image of home.
For many people, home will be the key destination of summer breaks. For others who are staying in D.C. or are travelling during the summer, home will only be a stopover. In other words, going home is inevitable, yet the thought of returning to the place most familiar to us often provokes mixed feelings. It might or might not be alleviating.
To my surprise, I have heard many people express their worries about going home in the summer for various reasons. Many people have commented on their inability to connect with their old friends when they returned home during other breaks and how the awkwardness of this disconnection became more evident in person. Some now find the familiarity of home overly ordinary, banal and even dismaying after their time at college. These sentiments seem to be common enough to make us question what it is about college life that changes our impressions of home.
At college, every day is busy. We’re constantly procrastinating working on a paper or studying for a midterm. We fill our free time with part-time jobs, club meetings or other activities. Late nights and weekend parties are part of the college culture that are less common at home for many people. It might be difficult to balance the social life with schoolwork, to learn to be smart with the immense freedom we have (finally) been given. But we strive to come up with a new schedule for our lives that incorporates both academic and social aspects into the college experience.
Most of us, when we came to Georgetown, often felt disoriented by the then-new environment, struggling to adapt to the fast-paced, busy lifestyle. As we slowly begin blending into the college culture, we also begin unconsciously changing ourselves. We became more independent and habituated to the unfamiliar.
This internal change, which we are not necessarily aware of, is the source of this disconnected feeling from home. We feel annoyed at having to be home by a certain curfew or having to let parents know where we are going, whom we are hanging out with. We want to go out and have fun, but we feel guilty about not spending our precious time at home with our families. For many of us who came from rural residential areas, the suburbs or smaller cities than D.C., the quiet is unsettling.
The idea of associating home with the restriction of the freedom to do anything and the possibility of experiencing excitement may seem a little pessimistic, but it marks a turning point in our journey toward independence.
These feelings of unease may be exacerbated by the frenzy of finals and moving out, which precludes most of us from finding time to reflect on the year and all the experiences that have changed us. There is no pause for us to say a temporary goodbye to our Georgetown life and prepare to return to our old life.
Despite fears of feeling like an outsider at home, returning over the summer is an essential journey to make, as well as an important opportunity. It allows us time to recover from all the madness of our academic year, to spend time with the people who are so important in our lives and to realize just how lucky we all are.
Rita Chang is a rising sophomore in the College. Perks of Summer appears every other Wednesday at thehoya.com.