Gate-Way to Home

Deena Mueller

I lead two lives: The life I live here at school and the life I live back home. I consider these two lives to be very separate entities that have no business intersecting with each other.

It’s not that I have some secret life as an ex-convict back home, nor must I hide my actions on campus from my parents.I just prefer to maintain a separation between my home life and my Colgate life. Back in high school, when the school day ended, I drove home and had my personal time and space. None of my classmates were around and not everyone I encountered was a fellow student. Granted, I had many friends who knew me outside of school, but still, my home life was my own. When I first came to college, I felt like this separation had been destroyed. The short distances between dorms and classes, along with a living system that plops 200 students together in one building with paper thin walls is not exactly conducive to preserving one’s anonymity.

However, as I’ve spent more time here at Colgate, I’ve realized that I still do have that separation. Only now, it is between my life here in college and my life back home in Chicago. Going home as infrequently as I do, has made it easy for me to prevent these lives from overlapping, and instead I focus on the life I’m living at the moment. Since I have come to Colgate, I have built myself a life from scratch; I have completely new friends, am in all new clubs and activities, and partake in new opportunities in everything from academics to social life. Although I am very happy with my life here, it takes a lot of effort on my part to manage it. I’d rather not have to split my precious time between that and maintaining the life I lived back home. To give more attention to my home life means I have to give up something from my life out here, maybe a homework assignment? Maybe the Jug?

I actually expect that I can slip in and out of each life as I need to. When I am at Colgate, I often refer to my dorm as “home.” Yet, each time I land in Chicago, I smile because I think I am returning “home.” When I was there over the summer, I quickly found myself reverting to my old habits. All my old ways of life came back to me and I felt like I belonged there. Yet, it took very little time for me to get into my routine here at Colgate when this semester began. I want to be able pick up my lives right where I left them the last time, and I don’t want to work at securing my spot in my other life while I’m away. Why should I have to stay in constant contact with my high school friends while I am here? Can’t I just hang out with them when I get home, even if we haven’t talked in four months? I almost feel like a phone call from my home area code is an intrusion into my life here.

Nevertheless, it would be an overstatement to say that I have disregarded the life I live at home with my high school friends and my family. In fact, those things are still important to me. Although, I am beginning to make my own life here my priority. Before arriving at college, my high school friends and I deceived ourselves that we’d remain in touch on a near-daily basis through the use of Facebook, AIM and cell phones. Then I got out here, and I got busy. The harsh reality is that I have begun to replace my friends and family at home with the activities, sports and people out here. In essence, I am growing out of my old life.

I am not going to cut the umbilical cord between my two lives just yet. It may be difficult and it may be futile, but if I can hang on and get to experience the best of both lives for a little bit longer, then why not? Still, each week that passes, I become more confident and established in my life out here. By the time I graduate from Colgate, I am certain that I will be capable of living my life without the crutch of my home life. Until then, I am going to continue living two lives, no matter how different or separate they may be.