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Hello and welcome to another edition of Autostraddle’s College Lesbianage: a glimpse of college life through the wide eyes of six freshly fallen snowflake first-year queers. This month’s update will be given individually! Today we’ve got Wellesley’s Claire with some thoughts on going back to school.
At Wellesley, I was never homesick. I missed my family and I missed my pets, but I did not miss the life that I had in Phoenix. Not even in the dead of winter, when Boston was buried in snow and Phoenix was at its most palatable, did I miss home. I feel like this is kind of a weird thing to admit, because it implies a sort of sweeping negativity towards everything in my life prior to college. Have I mentioned that I love my family and my pets? I really do. I just didn’t love the other people or the city or the weather or the politics. This place is not for me.
Not being homesick was the anomaly among my friend group. Pretty much everyone that I knew at some point desperately missed Maui weather or sweet tea or avocados or their family’s cooking. But these were people who didn’t pause when asked, “Where are you from?” because they had answers and stories ready. I didn’t have any Southern/Southwestern pride. I preferred to awkwardly spend two minutes explaining that where I was born, where I grew up and where I went to high school were all different places, and then let whoever was on the receiving end of this litany decide whether I was more Canadian, Texan, or Arizonan on their own.
At Wellesley, I have met the sort of friends who I have planned tattoos and baby names with because I want them in my life with that sort of permanence. I know I’m not the first teenager to hope that these friends will be with me forever, but I don’t care because I finally have the sort of friends that I want in my life for an indefinite period of time. They are wonderful people. I want to hold on to this experience because I’m already a quarter of the way through it and I am happy. I am also anxious and stressed and there are nights when I don’t sleep and days where I’m scheduled down to the minute because I have so much to do, but I am happy. That’s not to say there aren’t days when I’ve wondered if I’d be better off somewhere else. Classes would be easier. I’d have free time. But then there were nights when I sat cross-legged on the counter of the dorm basement common room, trying to squeeze the third cup of tea out of a particular tea bag, talking to a friend, and those nights, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Summer is a little bit more than halfway over. I’m doing a lot of physical therapy and it’s going pretty well. The swelling is almost gone from my knee and I have a pretty awesome scar that is healing rather nicely.
In a few weeks, I’m headed to a huge family reunion, where I will definitely be going back into the closet. My extended family is really, really religious in a way that is not favorable to the queers, and I don’t want to rock the boat. I don’t even want to get into the boat. Boating probably isn’t good for my healing ACL at the moment, so I will be avoiding boats and boating at all costs and will instead be sitting on the sidelines with relatives I’ve never met, working on the blanket that I’m crocheting. Aside from the family reunion, I’m counting down the weeks until I get to go back to Wellesley. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I was doing a year ago, when I first started writing these articles. The only difference is that I’ve spent a year wandering around a city that I think I could love, I’ve met wonderful people, I’ve learned a lot of things, and I’m a calmer, slightly less neurotic person. I’m happy, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!