As I sit in my childhood room, which is still garnished with soccer trophies, my own art, a stuffed animal or two and other relics from my past life, I can’t help but feel a little … younger.

College has a knack for changing people for the better, I think. Trinity is no different. You don’t have to look too far to meet people from different backgrounds with different perspectives on things that you might not have ever considered. And if you fit the first-year stereotype like I did, you’re pretty keen on trying new things.

Living on your own also tends to reveal new habits. When and what do you eat when you’re on your own? How late do you get home when you don’t have to answer to anyone’s curfew? This is a magical time of trial and error, testing boundaries and self-discovery. Or at least that’s how I look back on it as a senior. Although a lot of my decisions, actions and words were embarrassing beyond belief when I was an 18-year-old energetic and slightly insecure Beze resident, I grew and learned a lot about myself from them.

As a first year, I found myself four months, after leaving home for the first time, back to exactly where I started — sitting in my parents’ living room flipping through television stations. You wouldn’t know it on the outside, but on the inside I was totally different, or so I thought. I had all these new experiences under my belt and I had been introduced to thoughts and ideas that transcended the boundaries of my parents’ suburban neighborhood. At first, I tried my best to let my parents and high school friends know that I had gained all this newfound independence and they should not expect me to fall back into my past ways just because I was at home. It didn’t take long for me to prove myself wrong.

At school, I make all my decisions for myself. At home, that’s not always true.

My mother is very kind and caring, and I think she very much enjoys doing things for me when I’m home. Mothers miss those kind of things, although they probably wouldn’t ever let on. Those things mainly include cooking and laundry — things that I’ve gotten used to doing on my own. But only a couple weeks into having my mother call me down for dinner and delivering my laundry to my room, I fall into my old habits. And with none of my college friends around, there’s almost no external evidence that any of the things that happened at college actually even occurred. I spent long days lounging around, and my independence was stifled even on the days I did get out of the house. I’m bound to my parents when I’m home. I must let them know when I’m leaving and where I’ll be and when I’ll be back.  After all, they are my parents, and they worry.

Even as a senior, I spent more time than I’m proud of this winter break sitting in that exact spot, just watching TV. At this point though, I make no effort to be any less than obedient and lazy while I’m home. I know I can do my own laundry and cook my own meals. I know that I’m being safe, even when I don’t get home until after midnight. I know that I’ve accomplished many mature tasks and learned many things. For example, I’ve planned entire trips and traveled internationally extensively on my own, notably surpassing my parents’ travel experience. Yet when I travel with them, they still insist that they know better. Instead of blindly getting angry at them for still treating me like a child, I’ve decided to skip it, bite my tongue, in order to not spend my time with them fighting. It’s less of a hassle for me to let them handle travel details anyway. This in and of itself is a mature decision and in no way one I would have made before college. So, if my mother wants to do laundry for me, well, I think it benefits the both of us. And I also know, as a veteran of winter breaks, that even when it seems like they’ll never end, they always do. Before I know it, I’m being flung back into the same habits and practices I’ve become accustomed to here at Trinity.

It baffles me to think that at some point soon, I’ll be on my own in a new way, without the Trinity community and the amenities of college. I’ll build new habits and form new ideas, and college will be another thing I look back on. Technology permitting, there will more than likely still be at least one day of the year when I’ll find myself on my parent’s couch, mindlessly channel surfing.