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 canâ€™t help but feel a little â€¦ younger.
College has a knack for changing people for the better, I think. Trinity is no different. You donâ€™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, youâ€™re pretty keen on trying new things.
Living on your own also tends to reveal new habits. When and what do you eat when youâ€™re on your own? How late do you get home when you donâ€™t have to answer to anyoneâ€™s curfew? This is a magical time of trial and error, testing boundaries and self-discovery. Or at least thatâ€™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 â€” sitting in my parentsâ€™ 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 parentsâ€™ 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 didnâ€™t take long for me to prove myself wrong.
At school, I make all my decisions for myself. At home, thatâ€™s not always true.
My mother is very kind and caring, and I think she very much enjoys doing things for me when Iâ€™m home. Mothers miss those kind of things, although they probably wouldnâ€™t ever let on. Those things mainly include cooking and laundry â€” things that Iâ€™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, thereâ€™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. Iâ€™m bound to my parents when Iâ€™m home. I must let them know when Iâ€™m leaving and where Iâ€™ll be and when Iâ€™ll be back. Â After all, they are my parents, and they worry.
Even as a senior, I spent more time than Iâ€™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 Iâ€™m home. I know I can do my own laundry and cook my own meals. I know that Iâ€™m being safe, even when I donâ€™t get home until after midnight. I know that Iâ€™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 parentsâ€™ 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 theyâ€™ll never end, they always do. Before I know it, Iâ€™m being flung back into the same habits and practices Iâ€™ve become accustomed to here at Trinity.
It baffles me to think that at some point soon, Iâ€™ll be on my own in a new way, without the Trinity community and the amenities of college. Iâ€™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 Iâ€™ll find myself on my parentâ€™s couch, mindlessly channel surfing.