It starts with the changing of the leaves. A vibrant assortment of scarlet, ocre and amber-colored foliage adorns the trees around Lake Waban. The crisp sound of leaves underfoot accompanies your stroll from Tower to Sci. The breeze picks up and the air reaches the temperature where white plumes of breath can be seen escaping your lips. Another prominent turning point being when the Varsity athletic teams make their annual pilgrimage to go apple-picking. The first signs of fall have arrived.
In an ideal world, I throw on my long coat, beanie, fuzzy mittens, scarf and embark on my journey to class, with Doc Martens on my feet, and my pumpkin spice latte in hand.
In all honesty, as a born-and-raised Californian, I am still stubbornly wearing my flip-flops and shorts to class, despite the ever dropping temperatures. I miss the sun. I miss the clear skies. I miss the ocean breeze. But most of all, I miss my home in California.
The transition from the West Coast to the East Coast brought about more changes than just the experience of my first fall. The subtle differences in language, humor and food serve as daily reminders of everything I once took for granted back home. Who would have thought that heading from one coast to another could induce such a culture shock?
I long for the friendliness and laid-back nature of Californians, those chance encounters that lead to small talk on the street. I yearn for the openness of my hometown community and the security of my familiar surroundings. I miss eating at my local restaurants and the ability to wear pajama pants to class everyday without feeling judged. (And, don’t tell my parents, but I miss my dog most of all.)
Not too long ago, I would have given anything to board a plane and fly far away from home with the goal of exploring the world. Throughout my childhood, I was eager to ‘grow up’ and leave the nest behind. However, I realized I forgot to consider one important piece of the puzzle — that being the challenges that come with it, and what I would be leaving behind. Growing up is hard, moving away is hard, and starting a new life in a new environment is even harder. As I spend more time at Wellesley, I realize that these little glimpses into the past remind me to live in the moment and embrace the precious passage of time.
I’ve come to realize that it takes time to adapt to a new place and new faces. Whether you’re from across the globe or just a town away, the transition to college can be challenging. It might seem overwhelming at first, and you might even feel like you’re navigating this world all by yourself, but rest assured — many others, including myself, are facing similar challenges.
The first step can be something as simple as adjusting to the weather, such as taking the time to embrace my first fall.
Hopefully with time and patience, I can learn to make Wellesley my home away from home. So please consider this my gentle reminder to check in on your friends. It’s always okay to feel a little homesick.