I always receive comments, laughs, or a smirk when I tell people how much I long for home during the week when I am in the dorms.
During freshman orientation the speeches from our President, Resident Life Director, and Freshman Orientation Event Coordinator instruct students to not go home, as this new transition will become harder if we do. That parents need to give their children space, and time to connect with their roommates. We are taught that if we immerse ourselves into the social atmosphere on the weekends we will be ensured lifelong friendships.
We fear that we will be missing out on floor events, and those inside jokes everyone will bond over.
If we were not a part of the Instagram boomerang at the beach with everyone, are we even enjoying our time at a university? Honestly, leaving on the weekend became easy to do as the famous image of social gatherings on the weekends in the dorms were not my reality.
I remember in the summer, before starting my first semester here at Vanguard, I put a limitation on how many weeks I had to stay on campus before returning home for the first time. I promised myself exactly two whole months of staying away from home. I quickly learned that those rules were not going to work.
Thankfully, having a car makes commuting home very easy for me, well minus the 3-hour traffic jam on the 91 freeway on Friday afternoons.
As an introvert, leaving on the weekends seemed glorious, especially after a couple of weeks of adjusting to two new roommates in tight quarters. I missed my family, quiet space to recharge, and my dog. So, naturally it only took me three weekends to realize I needed the interaction and support with my family to make this new transition go more smoothly for me.
Being able to go home allowed me to still attend my home church on Sunday’s, wash my laundry for free, meet up with old friends for coffee, and celebrate my sister’s birthday. All of which I never wanted to completely leave behind, because in the summer my Vanguard lifestyle goes away, being left with the things from home I had in the very beginning. Rather than the vibrant activities that had been forecast, closed doors in the halls, empty parking lots, and random time slots at the cafeteria became the reality of weekends.
The interesting thing is that even though I have received such negative comments about my absence on the weekends, my friends seem to envy my ability to physically leave the Vanguard bubble on campus, as they admit that it becomes a ghost town. I have found that the most successful way to be involved in the university experience is by joining clubs, and extracurricular activities.
It is found by stepping out of your comfort zone, trying new things, and being brave to be the first to say hello to your fellow peer in class. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed when time away from the roommates or overload of homework is needed.
We should not have to eat, sleep, and breath the college experiences. Because, frankly, it can be experienced in many different forms.
True growth is seen through confidence by those who can recognize and act upon their own personal needs, rather than fearing judgment from others.
So, the next time you make that horrifying face when someone tells you they leave every weekend they have the chance, do not under estimate their involvement on campus.
Leaving on the weekends should not reflect how anti-social or immature one is. Vanguard’s strongest asset is the community, where students can thrive in social opportunities such as chapel, disciple groups, baseball games, floor outings, and campus events.
I go home, not to escape the community, but to return on Monday with a fresh sense of energy and excitement to pursue all my goals at Vanguard.