The holiday season only comes around once a year, but something about it seems almost more special now that I’m off to college. With friends back in town, family to spend time with, and a familiar roof to be back under, it’s been a blessing to spend this week back at home. Not only did it remind me of what I had missed, but abreakfast-wfamlso of what an opportunity it is to go to college in the first place. This week I got to come home for Thanksgiving, and I must say, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.

Days like Thanksgiving mean a lot of different things to different people, but in the end I think we all come down to the same main idea of appreciation for what we have. It’s the popping open sparkling cider and holding hands
around the table, family in town asking about school and grades and what your dating life is like, it’s the parents whispering quietly about you to your relatives, and best of all, it’s the time we get to spend with the people who love us. Maybe some people do not have the privilege of truly enjoying these holidays coming up, but as someone who can, it’s nice to reflect on what makes them important to me. For seventeen years, I came to enjoy Turkey day or the yearly arrival of Santa Claus with the warmth of people around me and music throughout the house. Even though this year is different, as my parents are new to this whole “empty nesters” thing, I can’t expect that the holidays will feel any less cheery than they usually do.

I have been gone for two and a half months, in which time I have studied a lot, made some new friends, not once skipped a class (yet), and proceeded to build a life for myself outside of Folsom. I kept wondering what it would be like to come back here and live out of a suitcase, or know that my stay would no longerfall-leaves-and-coffee be permanent. Permanent or not though, I am glad to be back. It’s weird to consider that when Nick and I left, people weren’t even cleaning up leaves off their still-dead lawns before the rain finally came around. Yet, pulling into our neighborhood on Saturday, what we saw was green grass, Christmas lights already up, and bare trees throughout town. As much as it reminded me of home, it also reminded me of something I think we often forget.

Time goes on, as do the people in it, even when you’re not around to notice.

From the likes of social media, I’ve gotten to watch those of the Class of 2017 embark on their senior year, applying for colleges, and attending their last Homecoming. Through text messages and video chats, I’ve been able to keep up with all of the friends and family I miss very dearly. After all this time, I can say I sort of know what’s been going on in their lives. That being said, nothing compares to actually seeing these people, getting hugs from them. I could probably use a couple of hours to catch up with everyone about the time we’ve all been apart. In the spirit of Thanksgiving and love during the holidays, I am simply thankful to have so many beautiful people in my life to miss.

By Sunday night, I will be back in San Luis Obispo, mentally preparing myself for a fast paced race against the clock— I will have two weeks before finals and then I will be back home again for another break. As great as the coming back home part sounds, the rest is a bit daunting, because that means that my first quarter of college is about to be over. My future (and my current GPA) rests in the hands of these next two weeks and how much review time I can fit into my schedule. Right before I left for break, I mbeauty in a nutshell.jpganaged to study about a total of 36 hours in four days… Maybe not the best strategy, but effective enough for me to get through our second round of midterms. I know that I’m about to be up against some challenging weeks, but I am going to make it through it with a lot of naps, several trips to the gym, lots of food, and a lot more time hitting the books. I know that I am probably not the only one gearing up for finals or a return to some hard working weeks, so all I can say is I wish you the best of luck.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

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