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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Every year, visiting home for winter break feels different

Melissa Holzberg, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.

Last week, I walked out of Penn Station in New York City, braved the ride out to Long Island with my dad and finally walked through my front door. I smelled the familiar perfume my mom has worn since I was a little girl and walked up the stairs to my room, which hasn’t changed since I was in ninth grade. I sat on my bed and realized that I’ve outgrown this place, and I wasn’t upset about it.

Coming home for winter break can be a strange experience for any college student. You go from living on your own, making your own rules and having your own schedule to suddenly feeling like you’re back in high school. For me, coming home as a sophomore in college is completely different than when I was a freshman.

When I came home from school last year, I had the urge to relive every one of my glorious high school memories. I snuck into my school between the change of periods, visited old teachers with the hope of showing them how accomplished I was and tracked down my old favorite haunts: my locker, the newspaper office and the school library. Going back to those places made me feel as if I still belonged in my town of Commack, N.Y., despite having been gone for months.

But this winter break, my days are spent with my family and the few friends from high school who continue to impact my daily life. If you’re someone who’s going home for the first time, or perhaps you’re like me and have made the trek home from college often, don’t force yourself to relive high school.

I spent my three weeks off last year trying to pretend as if nothing had changed. My old friends and I spent so much time talking about all of our new experiences, we never discussed how hard college could be. It was as if we were all trying to prove how much fun we were having, and it kept our conversations from feeling genuine.

Starting my sophomore year at GW was difficult for me. I had spent the summer at home and realized how much my group of friends had changed. It set in that the people I said I’d be friends with for 20 years after graduation were nothing like me anymore. That realization, though, drove me to create stronger friendships at school. Our friends at GW are the friends that we choose, not just the friends that live in our town.

Going away to school and distancing myself from my hometown came with consequences. I lost touch with a majority of the people with whom I spent my high school years. My life at home now centers around my family and about four friends.

Choosing GW over another university was the first independent decision most of us probably made. Leaving our hometowns and beginning our own lives was scary, but rewarding. I no longer fit in with my Commack surroundings, and I’m proud of that. The rooms in Commack High School that used to be my sanctuary have now become someone else’s. And for him or her, it’s my job to let them enjoy it, not relive it for myself.

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