The Value of Going Home

Colleen skating with siblings

I decided that I was going to go home for Thanksgiving approximately four days before I got on the plane to do so. I’d gone back and forth about it a few times, weighing the cost and the opportunity to bond with other Washington Center students staying for the holiday as well as the time it would take to travel to and from Toledo. In the end, though, I realized one simple fact: I just wanted to go home.

For a while, being homesick felt childish and ungrateful to me. After all, I had this incredible opportunity to visit and work in Washington, D.C. and I felt like being homesick was, in a way, turning my nose up at the city. I was determined to power through the three months without flying home and prove that I could survive without the need to see my family.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe how ridiculous I was being. For some reason, I’d cemented it in my head that needing a support system back home was a form of weakness rather than accepting that it’s natural and healthy to want to be close with friends and family. Although I’ve met many people here that I like and enjoy spending time with, there are also people back home who can never be replaced. Needing to see those people was something I needed to admit to myself and that I felt better once I did.

In D.C., it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to be the perfect ‘young professional’ that excels alone, without the need for support or rest or even self-care.

Colleen

The trip home was painless, for the most part, and the cost was well worth the chance to see my family for a few days. I got to see my sister’s new braces and hear all about my brother’s job, and I was able to surprise my parents on Wednesday night after getting a friend to drive me from the airport to my home. We went ice-skating later on Thanksgiving night, as a family, and I was incredibly glad I had made the decision to go home.

In D.C., it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to be the perfect ‘young professional’ that excels alone, without the need for support or rest or even self-care. For the holiday, at least, I’m rejecting that notion. I wanted to see my parents and my siblings, to sleep in my own bed and wake up to a breakfast table where I wouldn’t be eating alone, and that's okay. It was a well-earned and much-needed break.

It’s now only two short weeks until I’ll see my family again, but the time home brought me both a new appreciation for D.C., my family and my hometown. Although I’ll be happy to be home once and for all in two weeks, that won’t stop me from enjoying every second left in D.C. to the fullest.

Colleen Anderson

Colleen is a legal studies major at University of Toledo in Ohio. She participated in TWC’s Fall 2017 Academic Internship Program, where she interned at the Public Defender’s Office of the District of Columbia.
 

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