It was my first University of Cincinnati homecoming as an alumni. It was also my first time back to Cincinnati since graduating in April. During the four years I spent there, I had never actually been excited to leave Cleveland and go back to Cincinnati. But this time around, I couldn’t leave here and get there fast enough.
I was sitting at the bar with one of my friends who I knew in high school and then all the way through college. I hadn’t seen him since I left and his hair had gotten really long, so I told him that. And he said “Everyone keeps pointing that out, and I don’t get it. It’s just hair, that’s what it does. It grows.”
Going back is a really strange thing, everything is still where it was when I left it. It all looks the same and even smells the same. But the people aren’t the same, I especially am not the same. Some of us grow, and others don’t.
It was the best weekend I could have asked for. I didn’t go in with any expectations, I just knew that I really wanted to have a good, drama free, weekend and enjoy the time being back with my friends.
I was surprised by the way people were so split. You expect to go home and be with your group of friends the way that it was during your college days, but it just doesn’t work out that way, you’re together for an hour and then everyone goes their own separate ways and maybe you won’t see or hear from them for the rest of the weekend, but you know you’ll catch up on Monday in the group chat.
I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who actually went out of their way to make time to see me. And the people who came to say goodbye before I left. I was surprised by the people who graciously opened their houses and apartments and let me take over their room with my bag of clothes, let me take over their couches and beds, and who brought me plastic-baggies to keep my contacts in so I didn’t have to sleep with them in my eyes (Life Hack- if you forget your contact case get two plastic sandwich bags, put a little bit of contact solution in the bag, and then put your contacts in. It’s not perfect but it works).
It’s the little things like this that make an impact on a person, the things I’ll remember and the things that show growth. It may not be physically apparent, like hair, but growth within a person is even more important than what is on the outside.
I won’t write every detail or every story from the weekend, but just know when you go home for the first time it’s a lot of having the same “So, what have you been up to?” conversations, with a lot of different people. It’s seeing everyone with their significant others, its meeting aunts and uncles and parents, its congratulating people on their engagements and taking bets on who will be engaged next, and it’s a lot of “How’s your love life? What’s up with you and ‘the guy in your Instagram’?”
If I got paid for every time someone asked about “the guy” in my Instagram, I would be able to pay off my student loans by the end of this month. If you have to refer to him as “the guy from Instagram”, then you don’t know me that well and don’t have the right to know that personal information.
At the end of the day, maybe I won’t remember the majority of the conversations I had with people over the weekend. But I will remember the way people made me feel and the way in which people have grown. I will remember the way being back in Cincinnati felt and I will be thankful that homecoming only comes around once a year.