To be honest, I was pretty darn worried about my first return home from Hopkins.

Yes, parts of me were looking forward to it — reuniting with my dorky dog, my friends, my family, my mom’s cooking *sheds tear* and my small town home, Dormont. Still, l couldn’t help but feel sort of anxious about how much or how little has changed. 3 months isn’t necessarily an extreme block of time. Regardless, I, a mere 18 year old with a penchant for feeling cheesily introspective, couldn’t help but think of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” as my dad and I drove past this:

Yes, perhaps it was a bit melodramatic of me. But I genuinely felt a bit weirded out by the idea of being back in my normal bedroom, washing my hands with a non-automatic faucet, showering without shoes, and reuniting with people I hadn’t seen since August. I spent most of the long drive home reflecting on how much has happened in this initial chunk of Hopkins life and found myself smiling as I remembered this moment:

Seeing Future Islands at Hampdenfest with this beauty

Seeing Future Islands at Hampdenfest with this beauty

of course, this one:

walks from Gilman = best time for nature photo-ops

walks from Gilman = humbling moments with nature 

one of my favorites:

my brother's wistful food coma post-Sterling Brunch during Family Weekend

my brother’s wistful food coma during Family Weekend

and, most recently:

I MET DOGE ON MY BIRTHDAY, AND IT LOVED ME

I MET DOGE IN BALTIMORE ON MY BIRTHDAY, AND HE LOVED ME

My reminiscences were not, of course, limited to these random snapshots. Memories of sunlit study sessions at Gilman, B’more explorations with friends, and the FFC quesadilla bar had me grinning like a dork as I looked out the window. Gradually, I gained a surprising sense of calm. I began looking forward to all that I would be returning home to — the familiarity of Pittsburgh, of my hometown people — and all that I would be coming back to on the 30th: my favorite study spots, my friends, the surreal idea of tackling my first college finals (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHAT?????) and much more.

I’m not entirely sure where this leaves me as a human being, considering how odd it feels to have both a “home-home” and a second home that grows dearer to me every day. I can only imagine how odd I’ll feel when I (((hopefully))) do study-abroad my junior year. As I sit at my desk here in Dormont, I only have the greatest thanks to give for all that Hopkins life has offered me over the past few months. I’ve returned to Pittsburgh with a mind eager for more exploration of the world around me, for more growth. After all is said and done, it’s good to be back.

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