“Going home” during college is a phrase that stands for three universal truths: eating copious amounts of food, re-connecting with loved ones, and catching up on all the tasks you haven’t done (yes, I’m talking about laundry).
It also stands for those expected run-ins you have with high school folk and long lost friends, asking what you are up to and how you are doing, which inevitably spurns reflectiveness, forcing me to think about my post high school journey.
I think about where I was as a person in high school, my dreams and fears at the time, and compare it to where I am today, a true example of how my experience at LMU has altered my perception of the world and helped shape me into an adult. Not to say I was immature, but my transition to L.A., my attendance at LMU, and ultimately my experiences on my own have been transformative and have guided me to achieve what LMU calls the “education of the whole person”; most noticeably, my newfound appreciation for things I did not truly take the time to cherish.
With this enlightenment, I try to takeaway a newfound appreciation for something, small or large, every time I visit home. The first time I visited the Bay Area after starting my freshman year, I had a newfound gratitude to my parents for trusting and supporting me enough to let me go out on my own. They knew LMU was where I wanted to be and they made it happen, even when they knew I’d be six hours away; they did that just for me.
This past visit, I found appreciation in the smaller things. I found gratitude in my stepmother’s preparation for my arrival, which included picking me up late on a Thursday night from the airport, and making sure to prepare my favorite dinner (burgers) and have a pint of my beloved Straus Ice Cream in the freezer. I also found it in the stillness of the morning when I perched myself outside and enjoyed a cup of tea alone. I found it in the company of my brother, gorging ourselves with our favorite breakfast, including donuts and a massive breakfast burrito, and with my sister, watching her all-time favorite movie, The Hobbit.
A trip home, as always, is a wonderful way in which to touch base with loved ones, and proved very productive in terms of getting my laundry done (I wasn’t joking). My appreciation has grown with every visit home, a sign that I am growing too, but in my spiritual and intellectual development, a sure sign my time at LMU has proven prudent. As my life in L.A. blossoms, I have learned to never forget to cherish the things that led me to where I stand, and how happy I am to be exactly where I am.