|Coming and Going|
At school, Brown students tend to miss home right around midterms.
“I never thought I would say this,” one will say, “but I really miss being home.”
A sure symptom of such midterm-itis is a newfound indifference to one’s appearance. Denim jeans and Gap graphic shirts are replaced by earth-toned hoodies and sweatpants. Eyeglasses appear on students who seemed to have perfect vision earlier in the semester, while hellos and hand waves are reduced to grunts and head bobs of acknowledgement.
At home, Brown students begin to miss college as soon as moms decide to quit making chocolate chip pancakes every day for breakfast.
“But Mom, I go to an Ivy League school now,” a vacationing student will say.
“Sweetie…?” Mom will respond.
“Yes, Best Mom Ever?”
“It’s getting old.”
Whether one manages to find a job or just ends up taking a break from academia, summer always eventually sucks. This is when students begin to think, “Crap … I thought I had more friends than this back home.” In actuality, Brown students are exercising one of those psychological defense mechanisms they learned in PY0001. It’s not that they have fewer friends at home; it’s that their friends have forgotten about them. Those who do remember them seem less cool than the gnarly from Brown. After all, to know an uncool Brown student is just plain odd.
“Yay! No more bitchy employer.”
So begins the process of moving back onto campus at the end of summer. Yes, it’s a hassle to lug everything back into the dorm but probably not nearly as bad as making a daily coffee-and-doughnut run for office workers. Thankfully, one can look forward to the unexpected help that comes from those brown-suited, smile-prone janitors who are always around to provide an extra hand. And yet nothing compares to having one’s arthritic octogenarian grandmother climb up four flights of stairs to assist in taking up a single roll of toilet paper (when everyone knows she’s really going up to use the bathroom).
The true fun of having freshly returned to campus lies in the absence of impending tests and homework assignments. For a brief time, one can guiltlessly enjoy countless chats, parties, meals, naps, sports, and movies with supercool Brown friends. This is not to say that, once classes begin, Brown students stop engaging in such activities. In fact, it sometimes seems that schoolwork is the true form of procrastination: it delays getting to the much more important act of hanging out with friends.
“Finally! No more guilt over watching my beloved Family Guy DVDs.”
And so begins a Brown student’s return home. Yes, it’s a hassle to move all of one’s things back home, but probably not nearly as bad as pulling off two consecutive all-nighters in order to study for finals (and socialize more with friends). Excitingly, returning home always entails getting everything one’s own way. No matter how one gets along with one’s respective parents or guardians, it is an unwritten rule that returning Brown students are to be treated like monarchs of the twelfth century. This means never having to clear one’s plate, gorging on mountainous globs of cookie-dough ice cream, and getting away with smacking brother Johnny around. Infinitely more significant is the reacquisition of simple pleasures. Brown students are finally able to average more than five hours of sleep per weeknight, take long steamy showers, and have the opportunity to be bored.
Everyone complains about their home. We complain about Brown because it’s our home. Four years will never be enough.
Josué Cofresí is a linguistics concentrator from the Bronx.