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and when i turned in my final, the first semester of my sophomore year is over. i’m on the next bus to syracuse and the next flight out to atlanta.

it’s a weird feeling–i was homesick for the most part of this semester and was dying to go home. all semester long, i’ve wanted to give my family a huge bear hug and see their faces. not to say that those feelings have gone away after my finals ended, but i get closer to seeing them, the reality that the semester is over is become more real, too.

as i walked to my final final (heh), i had looked outwards at the all too familiar west campus, the day-old snow crunching under my shoes. as happy as i am to be finally done with finals season, the reality is that my time at cornell has an expiration date of four years, and every time i leave campus for break–summer or winter–is one closer to the final time i leave campus. eight semesters, eight departures. i’ve used up two, and tomorrow would be my third. and before i knew it, i would be hitting my eighth and final. while i don’t know what it’s like to feel that way yet–hitting that last goodbye–the bittersweetness i feel now only foreshadows what i’ll be feeling five semesters from now.

yet, even with these bittersweet undertones, i feel as though as my time at cornell goes on, the ‘bitter’ started to overpower the ‘sweet’. whereas freshman year was full of hope and excitement and aspirations and eagerness, sophomore year was… different. i know all too well that a lot of us become jaded by our second year, roughened around the edges by not just cornell’s winters but also its demanding pace… and unfortunately i was not the exception. i was less inspired. numb, in fact. for me, sophomore year was a mix of frustration, loneliness, and defeat punctured by the occasional moments of happiness.

don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad. however, for the better part of this year, i felt lost. i feel like i’m just searching and searching, but what i’m looking for isn’t there. and no, i’m no longer chasing the elusive concept of happiness, but more like a place and a sense of purpose. i think i’ve momentarily lost my place–i know this feeling won’t be here to stay, but it’s something that’s just been bothering me. i go through the motions and i study and i work hard and i participate in the community and socialize and try to be a high-functioning ivy league student who [appears] to have everything figured out. but at the end of the day, i’m not sure where i’m headed, i don’t see an end point, and there’s a bit of fear mixed in with confusion and displacement.

and therein lies the reason that i want to go home–i desperately need a break from this place. the familiarity of home and family is all too welcome after a semester of what feels like swimming against the current.

maybe it’s all a part of growing up. or maybe it’s just sophomore year.