Everything about Thanksgiving excites me. Mashed potatoes? Yes, please. Pecan pie? Pass it over. Seeing all the people that mentally never left high school? I could do without. Before college began, that break in late November was the perfect opportunity to escape my classmates and spend some quality time with my family and dogs. I completely underestimated the hype that people would place on reuniting with their hometown friends and how much relief they would feel leaving the new world of college.
I do not think that there is anything wrong with loving your hometown friends. Many of those individuals shared many of your “firsts” with you and often shaped you into who you are today. I was overjoyed to see some of my friends, whom I’ve had most of my laughs with, but there is a fine line between appreciating your high school friends over break and making them the focal point of your life. It pained me to constantly tap through snapchat stories exclaiming “The crew is BACK” or “Together at last” posted by people I never see anything from. Yes, social media is not the evaluator of a good time, but something about these specific people made me believe that they sat in their dorm rooms and counted down the days until they could post that selfie.
I feel terrible for the people that are not enjoying college. There must be nothing worse than feeling that your tuition, efforts during application season and precious time have gone to waste. However, I do not feel the same sympathy for people who are not taking the time to appreciate it and have fun because of their former popularity in high school. In short, I’m just overjoyed I didn’t peak between the years of 9th and 12th grade. By the end of Thanksgiving break, I was begging to be back on campus with my friends, sarcastically chanting Mother So Dear and praying that I had Deacon Dollars left to buy yogurt at the P.O.D.
I ran into a girl I went to high school with at the bagel store and we excitedly said hello to each other and struck up a conversation about our new lives. I asked “Is it fun there?” and she responded with “Yeah, but nothing compared to the parties we have here.” The parties she was referring to were usually made up of Snapchat stories that documented the whole night (sound familiar?), occasionally a parent upstairs ready to shut down the affair at the drop of a beer can, and an exclusive invite list of the same 25 people for two years straight. I shuddered at the thought. What I’ve experienced at Wake Forest made me realize that you do not have to be invited to the star football player’s “rager” to have fun or consider yourself valuable. I do not feel like my image is dependant on who asked me to prom or what model Jeep I roll into the parking lot in. Once I entered college, all of those silly indicators of worth dissipated and I became more focused on whether the people I was around made me feel good and supported my goals.
It is none of my business whether people consider high school to be the best four years of their lives or not. It does worry me, however, that these people are going to have such a hard time adapting to and enjoying the new journeys of their lives because they held their most recent one in such high esteem. Go ahead and love high school and the friends you make along that path, but do not limit yourself to that being your greatest era.
Thanksgiving break should not transport you into a better time and make you feel like you can live in that phase forever. It should make you feel comfortable and at peace, but still remind you that you have something amazing and full of opportunities for a future and friendship back at college.