It’s actually just like Hannah Montana.

Over this Thanksgiving break, I had the unique opportunity to bring one of my best friends from Barnumbia home with me. When she told me she wouldn’t be going home to Hong Kong over the break, I forced her to buy a train ticket and come see my hometown. I live in a fairly progressive suburb of Philadelphia, so I assumed that the transition between cities wouldn’t be too challenging, especially knowing how like-minded we are. However, when introducing her to my childhood best friends and extended family, I came to realize just how different home home is from the home I’ve made for myself at Barnumbia, both in the positive and negative directions. So, I’ve compiled a list of changes in myself that I noticed this Thanksgiving as a result of my time so far at Barnumbia, with the added challenge of actively having to meld my two worlds together.

This is all based on personal experience, so take it with a grain of salt.

  1. Home friends and Barnumbia friends are not the same, but having both is the best of both worlds. At Barnumbia, I’ve had the opportunity to make friends from all walks of life, all over the world, and with different, complex perspectives. In high school, the friends I had were the friends I’d made on my first day of Kindergarten in 2010. To say these individuals are different would be a gross understatement. So, as I came to introduce these people, I found myself nervous about what they’d really think of each other. But, by Saturday morning, all five of us were at Chick-fil-A trauma dumping over waffle fries. So, I guess all this is to say that if you befriend people who you genuinely enjoy being around, there is likely some degree of similarity between them regardless of when they came into your life. 
  2. My extended family is not very Bold, Beautiful, Barnard. I think we all have a few family members who we know would never step foot onto campus, and being reintroduced to them after spending three months here is potentially the biggest culture shock of the century. Add the extra layer of having another Barnumbia student who knows nothing about your family there to experience the chaos, and suddenly you don’t even recognize your uncles who think that New York is on a different continent. Watching my Barnumbia friend interact with my Arizona-dwelling, cattle farming brother was an interesting experience, to say the least.
  3. Outgrowing your hometown is natural and good. While going home was a really nice break, being there made me realize just how homey New York feels now. I think this is something many Barnumbia students might relate to—you get to know your block, your favorite spots in Riverside, which dining halls have the best desserts (obviously Ferris), and New York slowly becomes home. Your friends become your family, and you make a life for yourself away from the person you were in childhood. When you visit home, you revisit that person and it feels very strange. So, when we got onto the train on Sunday afternoon to make our way back to New York, I realized that I felt like I was going home. That is what I assume the beginning of adulthood feels like.

So, all of this is to say that bringing a piece of Barnumbia home with me on Thanksgiving served to be an extremely reflective experience. I laughed, I cried, but mostly, I was grateful. I highly recommend finding a Barnumbia friend to drag to your hometown at some point—you might learn more than you think.

Image via Bwog Archives