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I Am Leaving Home Early

January 18th, 2022

I decided to go back to Tufts earlier than I'd planned, on Thursday this week. I was initially gonna return on Sunday.

The last half of this week is technically the beginning of the semester, but because of omicron all our classes are virtual. And because my schedule only has classes on Monday and Wednesday, I really only have to deal with fully virtual stuff for a day. The rest of the time I'd just be puttering around my house, and today that started to get really old.

I'm mostly just watching TV, going on the occasional outing with someone, and (sometimes) on a call for mock trial—not exactly an action-packed life. Today I was just moping around and looking despondently out the window. We're approaching a crisis here, so I like the idea that being back at Tufts will be possibly more interesting.

There are other advantages, I suppose: I'll move back in before my roommates so I can have my dorm to myself for a few days. I'll be able to see people who are already back, and ease into the semester as more and more people return. I'd just never have thought I'd be effectively cutting my break short to start school again.

I mean, this is the longest non-summer break I've ever had. The first week at home was fun and relaxing; the second—in Arizona—was a little less exciting; the third week skiing in Utah was lovely but probably just because of the setting; this last week has been increasingly purposeless. It's also the most time I've been at home since the end of May.

Over the summer, when I moved up to New Hampshire to work in the mountains I came home for no more than a few nights, and only had a week and a half before going to Tufts. And at Tufts I don't think I actually went home more than 3 or 4 times. Perhaps that's why home has felt like a let down—I'm just used to being somewhere else all the time.

See, I'm thinking a lot about how my environment ages me up or down. Like, in New Hampshire I was more mature and confident in myself than anywhere else—I was on my own, doing adult-y things that forced me to shift into a different type of person. And it's hard to describe exactly how I was different, but my parents noticed immediately when I came back at the end of the summer and I remember feeling different up there too, like all the things I saw happening around me couldn't disrupt my sense of self.

Tufts allowed me to age back down a little, like when you work out for a while but then stop: the muscle atrophies. Losing the full independence of the summer and being around more people my age brought my groundedness down a little, made me more high-strung—but by just a bit.

At home, the muscle has atrophied a lot. I've felt myself become more neurotic, like my mind is thinking and moving like highschool-senior Ian rather than the more up-to-date versions of myself. Obviously, that frustrates me! It is a little upsetting to feel as if your personality can regress based solely on where you are.

I was talking to my dad about what I wanted to do over the summer, and as I was describing the different options (all of which involve career-y things in Boston), I spaced out a little in the middle of a sentence and caught myself thinking about working up in New Hampshire again. Why? Because I look longingly at the way that place changed me and aged me up. It would be the happiest of the summer options, even though I feel like I can't do it again because I should be getting internships or research.

Maybe I should follow that impulse, though. For now at least, I'm going to go back to school a few days early in search of some of that regrowth.