Winter Break

By Ally O'Connor

   As I push the door open to reenter my dorm room after a month-long break from school, I find the beginning of a new quarter somewhat bittersweet. In some ways, I am glad to fall back into the swing of things. I like to be busy and I like to learn. Each day at Santa Clara, I feel fortunate to attend my top choice college, where I notice myself growing and evolving. That said, I concede that my home will always be my safe space, and that Fall quarter is my favorite because it provides the most time at home.

    After ten weeks of non-stop work and not enough sleep in the Fall quarter, it was a breath of fresh air to step back into my own room, a space that has been mine since I was just a few years old. The walls are a familiar shade of lavender and covered in paintings of dancers, posters from movies I have seen or shows I have been in myself, ticket stubs to concerts, sweet cards from my dance students, Fastpasses from my favorite rides at Disneyland, Buffs from Survivor, and photographs of smiling family and friends. These four walls depict so much of who I am. Although my dorm room is decorated, it is much sparser than my room at home, so in many ways, coming home and being in this room rejuvenated me and gave me the energy to step into Winter quarter as my best self, full of good food, smiles, and rest. Unfortunately, however, it also reminded me of what I am missing when I am away at school.

    My parents are two of my best friends in the whole world, and I am fortunate to have such wonderful people in my life. Spending time with them over Winter break — whether it be Christmas shopping, traveling, or or just sitting around the house talking — feels safe, comfortable, and warm.  For me, leaving is not always easy. I feel torn because I love school so much and enjoy all of the experiences that I have at SCU. However, even a year and a half after moving out for the first time, it is still difficult. I am very attached to my home and my family.   

    After a week or so back at school, I know that I will once again feel immersed in all of the activity, writing papers, meeting deadlines, reading submissions, attending classes, dancing when I can, and sleeping in between it all. That said, I acknowledge that it is never an easy transition. In many ways, that challenge is what makes me so lucky. I love home and I love school, so where could I go wrong? Someday I will learn to balance it all a little better, but being a quasi-grown up is still pretty new. For now, I am letting myself take my time and ease into it all.