If the roads seem a little more crowded this week, it’s because almost 25,000 students are starting classes Monday.
It’s move-in weekend at K-State, and it makes me nostalgic for my recently finished college years.
I graduated from the University of Nebraska in May 2013 and moved to Manhattan for a position at the Mercury in August 2013. So this is the first August in five years that I’m not moving.
I’ve been feeling the need to travel the last couple of weeks, and I think that’s why. It’s the middle of August. I’m supposed to be packing things up and buying notebooks for school.
WHEN I moved into my first dorm room in 2009, I didn’t want my parents to leave. That first weekend was a rough one, knowing that I wouldn’t make the hour-and-a-half drive home to see them for a couple of weeks.
The entire first year was a big adjustment, as it is for any college freshman. It was hard not being in the only place I had ever known, but I got used to not having dinner with my family every night and not seeing my high school friends as often.
It wasn’t until I made my next move, returning to Lincoln for my sophomore year, that I really knew everything would be OK.
My parents helped me again that time, and it was a lot easier to say goodbye. Then that night I ran into some girls I had met on our dorm floor the previous year. We had become friends at floor activities and all had decided to live on the same floor again.
We hugged and went to dinner together that night and generally kept each other entertained for the two or three days until classes started.
Everyone was really excited to see each other, and I thought, “Hmm. Maybe this can be home, too.”
AFTER THAT, it became commonplace. August meant moving back to school, seeing friends and planning adventures for the new year.
Each August and each move broke up the years into distinct pieces of my time in college. I remember the first time I saw each friend after our respective moves in August, and my memories are associated with where we happened to be living that year.
I reverted back to that first move when I came to the Little Apple last August. I was even farther away from home and knew absolutely no one. I morphed back into the scared freshman from four years prior.
But when I marked my first anniversary at the Mercury on Wednesday, I felt more like I did when I went back for sophomore year.
I feel settled and like I’m where I should be.
At the same time, there’s a part of me that is conditioned to think that I should be moving along with the students this week.
I’ve measured the last five years in moves. During that time, the year began when I got to Lincoln in August and started over fresh when I got back from summer break.
Even though it was different last year — with a new town, new responsibilities and new people — the year still started fresh in August.
IT’S STRANGE to know that even though classes are starting, my days will continue as usual. I already miss having a blank slate.
Starting the new school year and coming back after summer break, I always felt energized. It meant a new room, a new roommate and new classes. Now I have to make the adjustment to “grown-up life.”
Not that there aren’t advantages to this. The actual process of moving is exhausting and unpleasant. My arms were usually sore for the next day. I’m not up until midnight working on homework. I actually have the time to read for my own pleasure.
But I’m going to have to get used to not having that fresh start, that renewed motivation. August doesn’t have the same meaning anymore.