Walking into my house again and knowing that I was going to be back in my own bed for three weeks was a bittersweet experience. For one, my bed at home has been with me since I was six years old. I remember the day I got it – unwrapping the large, mysterious box given to me as a birthday present from my grandparents. I felt so proud to have such a big, grown-up bed. These days, however, it barely supports half my body, and the idea of three weeks in that bed again seemed less than marginally appealing. Another worry ran through my head, though: What if everything back home was different? I remembered all my favourite people and places in my hometown of Hamilton, Ont., and the prospect of seeing them again excited and worried me.
I remember my year off, when all my friends came home after their first term at university. They seemed a little discombobulated back in their old worlds. I remember their struggles to adjust to living with parents again and their stories about all they’d experienced. I didn’t quite understand what it was they felt until I myself returned for the holidays. Everything I loved about my family came rushing back first, but was quickly followed by everything that drove me crazy about them. Seeing all my friends was great, and swapping stories about what we had missed in each other’s lives was a joy. But it left me sentimentally looking back on all the time that had passed. All that time made me feel really old.
Trying to get used to the idea of house rules again was also very confusing. The freedom of living in a parent-free environment – the late nights, quirky diets and unadulterated TV watching – had been something I’d grown accustomed to, and trying to grasp the idea of catering to a more family-friendly schedule was one thing that I struggled with. But regardless of these moments of insecurity and confusion, my overall reaction to being on break was relief. Having made it through my first set of university exams ever was awesome, and getting to eat all the food I wanted was definitely an apt reward.
So returning to Montreal has been fantastic. I feel well rested and ready to start new courses, have new experiences and be reunited with all my new friends. With a full stomach, a rested mind and lots of family love, I’m back into the fast-paced swing of things here at McGill, knowing what to expect and that I can do it.