Why is my hometown no longer residence? Adaptation to the time after the coronavirus

Last Friday, I went back to my hometown for the first time since school started to see my family. It was good to see her and also meet up with my friends. The break from university life allowed me to replenish my batteries – that is, as best I could – after the grueling seven weeks in Ann Arbor.

However, it felt a little different when I returned to my old turf. The air was fresher, the streets a little quieter than I remembered them, and I felt the need to soak up every sensory detail as if the moment of return would never come. It was nostalgic and sentimental, sure, but most of all I felt like I had outgrown the place. I wasn’t and I’m not sure why.

“Ann Arbor just feels more at home to me,” said Information and LSA Junior Chris Hudson.

When I entered my bedroom, I started opening my suitcase. I put my backpack down, took my laptop out of my travel bag and unpacked all the school supplies I needed to study for the next four days. Then I went downstairs to clean my water bottle so it would be fresh when I returned to Ann Arbor. Then I realized: I was a guest in my own house.

A few days later, an upper-class mentor advised me to change the address on my resume to reflect my location in Ann Arbor. I thought nothing of it, casually deleted the address I’ve proudly owned for 20 years and replaced it with the one I’ve had for two months. Part of me is now wondering why the revision was so easy for me; for a simple line manipulation, the meaning seems monumental.

I usually have friends and family over on match days. Either the night before or after the game, I’m grateful for the chance to show them around campus – where my classes are, my favorite restaurants, etc. Oddly enough, it kind of feels like I’m a new homeowner, the host is having a welcome party in my new place. Ross is my office, the Mosher-Jordan Dining Hall is my kitchen, and the Michigan Union is my living room.

Now, as I write this column, it became clear to me that the cities I grew up in, including Ann Arbor, haven’t changed. I have. I’m no longer the big-eyed teen who goes to Applebee after a Friday Night Lights game or the Pizza House after a Michigan football game (actually, that part is still very much true). I’m starting to become the type whose home acts as a grounding influence on a full adult’s everyday life.

I feel foolish to admit this after only two months here, but it’s true. I have two houses and one is increasingly more comfortable than the other. This can easily be traced back to the diverse possibilities of the university, the structure of everyday life or the people. But really, I just think I was ready to dive into college life.

I just didn’t know it was ready for me. After spending my freshman in my hometown to study remotely, I was concerned that my chance to go out and explore the world would not come. In the middle of a pandemic, and at that time with no real solution, I fell into the same routine as I did in high school. I felt like a fifth year high school graduate who happened to be taking more rigorous courses.

Now I’m surprised that those eight months didn’t equate the idea of ​​college with the neighborhood around my hometown. If anything, this period may have been mutually exclusive. Perhaps I’m so excited to finally be on campus this year that I completely disapprove of the idea of ​​ever attending classes from my childhood bedroom again.

Whatever the reason, I am grateful for the foundation my hometown has given me. I will never forget “my roots” and will return regularly, but there is something to grow up and move on. Humans are by nature nomads; We were never meant to stay in one place all our lives.

For now, I declare that I live in Ann Arbor. That may change in a few years. But for now I realized that I am exactly where I want to be.

Sam Woiteshek is an opinion columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

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