Editor’s Column: It’s Not You, It’s Me

I’m back from abroad and I’ve traveled the world. I can communicate entirely in another language, have somehow managed to survive international security, not lose my passport and be a vegetarian in a country that lives on meat. I’m independent and feeling as confident as ever. But arriving back at Colgate, I feel like a foreigner in a place that used to feel like home.

As I’ve reunited with familiar faces and reconnected with my best friends, sorority sisters and favorite professors, they all bring back feelings reminiscent of a Colgate I’ve loved for two years of my life. Everything’s stayed the same, except for me.

For starters, I declared my Political Science and Spanish double major during the first semester of my Sophomore year excited to become a journalist for a large news outlet, writing about politics every day. I was eager to attend political lectures on campus and debate current issues. But after an internship in the music industry and studying Spanish literature and history for an entire semester, with minimal connection to my CNN app or Trump-related politics, I’ve arrived back on campus with an ambition for other passions and industries. I’ve picked up an editorial job on campus, an arts-related Maroon-News editor position and a sense of disillusion with political discussions and courses that used to excite me.

Next, I moved “down the hill.” As an underclassman, I was always mystified by my older peers who were constantly complaining about not being able to park up the hill and begged me for library café swipes during finals week. “Just get a meal plan,” I’d always think, or “isn’t there a cruiser you can catch?” Well one year later here I am, asking my underclassmen friends for meal swipes and relying heavily on my 9:55 Tuesday/Thursday carpool up the hill so I don’t break a sweat on my way to class. The COOP is no longer my second home and unwrapping my homemade lunches feels like I’m the odd-man out while neighboring tables eat their tenders and fries.

Third, I’ve already been sick and out of classes multiple times this semester. Last year, I avoided the “plague” like I avoid political debates at Thanksgiving Dinner. If I can survive without illness through five different countries with numerous forms of public transportation abroad without seriously getting sick, then why can’t I make it through one week without a sore throat?

Lastly, I’ve become independent. Sophomore year, with my tight-knit network of friends, the daily “6pm dinner” and “plans tonight?” texts were so frequent that my social life was dictated by others. This year, living independently from multiple groups of friends, I have what feels like a newfound ability to create my own plans, substitute 4 p.m. dinners and 10 p.m. snacks for hour-long Frank meals and arrange my own schedule like I never have before. I feel refreshed and confident in my friendships, both new and old, because living independently has taught me to truly embrace those around me wherever and whenever we’re together.

Maybe I’m in limbo and my transition back to Colgate has taken more time that I expected. I still long to communicate only in Spanish and travel on my weekends instead of doing my homework like I should, but third floor Case is feeling like an old friend. I miss my tortilla de patatas but the return to microwavable soup and Kraft mac and cheese is settling. I missed you Colgate, but I’m back and better than ever.

Contact  Julia Klein at [email protected].