I would tell you how long it is until I leave to return to Gaylord, but I already packed my clock.
Okay, maybe that’s just for the dramatic effect, but the point still stands. Everything I brought here is stuffed into a duffel, backpack and hamper and is stowed away in the back of my Trailblazer, which will be headed north in a matter of hours.
I am having a really hard time getting past the fact that I have already completed my first quarter of college. It seems like only a couple of days ago I said goodbye to my family and spent my first night in Read Hall’s room 217. At the same time, I feel like I have lived in Athens forever. It really has become a second home to me and has been everything I expected and then some. Every day I find a little something new or notice the beauty in ordinary things that I walk by a couple of times a day. That in itself is amazing to me.
Reflecting on the quarter is a hard thing to do, simply because how satisfied I am largely depends on the final grades I get back sometime next week. Academics aside, though, I am incredibly happy with how everything has gone over the past three months. Not only have I learned a ton of things, but I’ve met people that I am going to miss, made memories I am excited to share and have set myself up with a fantastic foundation for the next 20 weeks of school here in Athens.
As much as the fact that I am leaving here puzzles me — it’s odd to me that I get only four weeks longer of a summer break than what I started today — it’s even weirder that I haven’t been home since the end of August.
I told some of my friends today that I should cut my hair weirdly and style some funky facial hair just to mess with my parents, because I realized that although I talk to them nearly every day, they haven’t seen my face in a couple of months.
Boy, that’d really throw them for a loop. It’d especially surprise the woman who suggested that the whole family should dress as total weirdos during move-in weekend. You know, to make a good first impression and all.
As much as my parents or any other friends back home may not want to admit, I am coming home a changed person — just maybe not in the hipster, typical laid-back college sense. I have been able to grow as a person and learn a lot about myself. Heck, I’ve survived everything college has had to offer thus far. I’m really proud of my accomplishments — academically and otherwise.
When I arrive back in Gaylord there is no doubt that I will feel home, though. As great as Athens has been to me, it isn’t quite home yet. 18 years in the great north, as my friends like to call it, hasn’t worn off quite yet.
I don’t really know what I’m going to do first, other than sit down with my family for a good long while. I really do miss them. It’s going to be great to sit in my living room and simply hang out, as silly as that may seem.
For whatever reason, I am excited to see the lake, to take in the changing of the seasons and be outside for a while. I walk from class to class every day and don’t exactly have a shortage of fresh air down here, but there really isn’t anything like Northern Michigan, at least to me.
I’d be lying if I said that my first trip into town wouldn’t mark a trip to the Herald Times newsroom. I might even try to design a page or two, just for kicks. I can’t wait to catch up on everything Gaylord… I feel totally out of the loop. Man, it’s going to feel good.
Apparently I am skating in a Gaylord High School hockey alumni (it’s freaky to think that I am an alum of something) game. I guess that means I should probably drop in on practice Monday and get some legs again. It would be safe to say that I haven’t been Mr. Athletic while here in Athens. The guys will be fresh off their first weekend of hockey, so it’ll be cool to catch up with them and maybe throw a couple of words of wisdom their way.
You know, because I’m old and have wisdom now. I just have to get a half-shield for my helmet. Then I will really look tough. Ha!
I’ve got some friends that I am excited to see. That goes without saying. The guys I spent every day with in high school have been scattered across the Midwest for the past three months and will be full of college stories that I cannot wait to hear. I have a feeling that it’ll take a solid couple of nights to get through the first quarter of college life.
And then it’s on to the working life, where I will triple-dip. That’s a surprise, eh? The crazy part is that I don’t have a “real job” this time around, like I have had in the past. I’m going to be writing for The Post, the Herald Times and the Alpena News.
All at the same time.
It’s going to be a crazy fun winter intersession. I am incredibly excited to begin my first official internship at the Alpena News, where I will work two or three days a week. I’m going to continue to work on some larger-scale stories for The Post and throw a blog or two Athens’ way every now and then. At the HT, I will be doing everything from page design to photography. What I’m looking forward to the most, though, is something that I have not done before, which is kind of a shocker.
I am going to cover hockey!
I’ve only done that a handful of times, freelancing about teams that have booted my Blue Devils from the postseason. That was always really great, to say the least.
All in all, it’s going to be great to be home. I miss Gaylord a lot. At the same time, it’s sad to leave Athens and the people that I have grown so close to.
The great thing about it all, though, is that they will all be there when I come back with a full head of steam and a renewed enthusiasm.
So, Athens, I’ll catch ya on the flip-side!
P.S., Marge, I need a hairs cut. For real.