I started my fourth and final year at Harvard a few months ago, and, in that time, I’ve done a lot of reflection on my college experience.
Specifically, I’ve thought a lot about what I expected my experience to be and how my actual experience has differed from my expectations.
To be fair, a lot of my expectations of college were true: I met new people and friends, I learned Boston can be extraordinarily cold, and I immersed myself in the on campus Indigenous community. However, many of my expectations proved to be different. For instance, I applied to Harvard as a prospective Chemistry concentrator, and today, I study a joint-concentration of Government and the Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. I also thought I was going to continue my involvement in my high school clubs, but rather, I joined entirely new organizations. And perhaps most notably, I thought coming to Harvard was going to be lonely and isolating being away from my family for the first time. Yet, while I do miss my family, I’ve learned ways to stay connected to my family even being hundreds of miles away.
However, since coming to college, keeping touch with my family has proven to not be hard at all. All it takes is actively making the time. For instance, I call my parents when I’m walking in between classes, when I’m eating a quick dinner, or even when I want a break from my homework. On the other side of things, my parents know my schedule and call or text me when they know I’m free. As a result, I never feel like I’m truly awayfrom them; in fact, when I’m on the phone with them, I forget we’re in different states. Sometimes, it feels like they're sitting in my dorm room with me, simply having a conversation - I feel that connected. Breaks have also proven to be another way to stay connected during and between semesters. When I go home, because I’ve maintained consistent communication with my family, it feels like I’ve never left. And I’m no longer worried to leave because I know I’m not actually leaving them, our ways of staying close simply just change.
I write this post reflecting as I'm nearing the end of Thanksgiving Break, and I know now that in between leaving home and coming back, I have so many ways to stay connected to my family. While some things I expected to happen in college did happen, many of my expectations never came true. In fact, I’m even inclined to say that I’ve grown closer to my family since coming to college. And that is certainly something I did not expect.