I've never been much of a holiday guy. New Year's creeps me out, Valentine's Day is usually far more depressing than it is romantic, and even as a kid I didn't understand the appeal of traipsing around town to get Halloween candy when my mom was dishing it out from our own front porch. And last week, when it seemed like everyone I know went home for Easter or Passover, I chose to stay in College Park rather than take a bus home.
The way I figured it, I didn't have a reason to go home — I don't like candy, and the resurrection of Christ can be just as easily acknowledged in Maryland as it can be at home in New Jersey. But that's not really what the UMd. exodus was about, was it?
Most of the people I know who went home did not do so out of any deep religious belief or obligation — they went home to eat ham with their families. (Or, in the case of my Jewish friends, bitter herbs and celery. Yum.) It wasn't about the holiday; it was about the company.
Though there is myriad evidence for it, this is not a screed about the godlessness of 21-year-olds. I'm just humbled by how many college students, who don't typically care about anything, cared about going home.
In high school, everyone lectured us about how much different college was going to be: They told us we'd have a lot more homework, and we'd have to manage our time better, and we'd probably drink a whole lot more. But nobody really told us about how we'd come home to find someone else's clothes in our closet, or how we'd have to hear our parents say "happy birthday" over the phone instead of over a bowl of cereal. They told us we'd start to get along better with our siblings, but they left out that it was because we'd only ever talk to our siblings on Facebook.
This campus is filled with people who are, at varying rates, growing up. My rate might be lagging behind, but the people ahead of me are all physics majors and not much fun to be around. I just hope that, however we all end up turning out, we don't grow up so much that we forget about the people who got us growing in the first place. College is weird and does weird things to relationships, especially when you spend your summers working at the university instead of the corn farm back home. But I learned something from last weekend — I miss my folks.
And next year, I think I'll go home for Easter.