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The Bend is home now

| Thursday, April 24, 2014

Being the extremely nostalgic person I am, I thought what more perfect timing to reflect on my first year at school than now, less than three weeks till the finish line (yes, less than three weeks!). A part of me longs to be in my coastal hometown, Seaside, Ore. Instead of studying for finals or finishing papers I catch myself online shopping for a new wetsuit and summertime apparel.

Although it may seem like I’m wishing the school year away, I can’t help but reflect on my first year at Saint Mary’s. I was often criticized for choosing an all-girls school in Indiana, and at first I didn’t blame the critics.

Five months ago in a homesick fit, I booked a flight home, which landed at an airport four hours from my house and included a 14-hour layover, anything to get out of South Bend. After being home for a few days it started to feel as though no time had passed at all. Suddenly it was as though my first semester hadn’t happened. I was working at the same job, driving the same route home, spending time with the same friends and implanting my bottom on the same spot on my same couch. Suddenly, there was a transition where this normality turned into an abnormality. I was able to find comfort flying over the Golden Dome thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to take a nap in my bed.”

This bold move allowed me to immerse myself in more ways than I thought possible. I’ve been able to spend every break in a different city. Fall break I spent in Baltimore with family that I wouldn’t see otherwise due to the fact that we lived on the complete opposite sides of the country. I spent a week with one of my best friends in San Francisco, where some of our time was spent in the heart of North Beach passing by cafes that Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti created literary masterpieces in. I concluded my spring break at my first South Side Irish parade in Chicago. I used to think the extent of St. Patrick’s Day in America was pinching someone for not wearing green. The South Side proved me wrong. I spent Easter in Lake County, Illinois, and unbeknownst to me, even a day in Wisconsin.

The Bend has become a second home to me, something I never thought I would say. It’s allowed me to see new places, meet new faces and get a better idea of who I am. Although at times I long to be home, I wouldn’t ask to spend these four years anywhere else. Sometimes transition isn’t easy, but oh, is it worth it.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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