A family-less Family Weekend

In honor of students who didn’t get to spend Family Weekend properly

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It’s finally November, which means pulling out your dusty monochrome sweaters from underneath your bed, admiring the leaves sprinkling down from thin tree limbs as you walk to class and, of course, seeing your family during Family Weekend. Except, what if you’re one of the seemingly few who didn’t have the chance to see their family?

Adjusting to college life is difficult for everyone — whether you live one hour or 10 hours away. You’re expected to leave your family behind, maintain a balanced and healthy social and academic life, stay physically active, get enough sleep, contribute to several different clubs, look for potential internships and jobs, pretend like you know where you’re headed and have your whole life planned out on a calendar, all while staying mentally sane — do they think college students are superheroes or something?

Naturally, Family Weekend is practically a holiday at U.Va. It’s another excuse not to work on those three essays you’ve procrastinated writing and to spend time with your family — who you now magically appreciate a hundred times more than when you first arrived at college. But as an out-of-state student whose family wasn’t able to visit me for Family Weekend, I’m going to procrastinate writing my three essays by writing about the moments that have made Thanksgiving my new favorite holiday, since it will be the next time I get to see them.

It’s no secret that I think of my mom every Friday night when I take the arduous trek down to the laundry room carrying my mountain of dirty clothes or when I force-feed myself inedible tofu from O-Hill due to their lack of vegetarian options. It’s the little things my mom would always do for me which college made me realize I took for granted. But, doing chores aren’t the times that make me miss her most. It’s the small, simple moments I miss most, like when she would draw open my curtains on Saturday mornings to pour sunshine into my bedroom and wake me up by jumping on my bed, bribing me to get up with the idea of brunch. I miss the times she would laugh uncontrollably next to me at whatever comedy we were watching that night. I miss the times she would let me use her shirt as a tissue when I needed to cry on her shoulder and the times she would force me to look at my problems from a different perspective.

I miss my sister’s spurts of spontaneity when she would ask me to go visit a museum with her or go check out some random store she’s been wanting to visit that I’ve never heard of before. I miss her inspiring and artistic outlook on the world, like the time she made me help her pick up dozens of photograph slides left on the sidewalk and put them in a lightbox hung on our wall.

Let’s face it — it’s always sweet seeing families reunited. But, not being able to share in that sense of reunion during Family Weekend leaves you feeling a bit empty, as you reminisce about your life prior coming to the University. I know that there will come a time when I’m back in New York with my family and missing my separate life in Virginia, but for now, I’m in Virginia missing my life back in New York — an endless cycle of being here, but always wanting to be there.     

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