This Thanksgiving break, instead of going on some extravagant vacation, I made the trek back to my beloved Connecticut hometown. I took a rickety little airplane to LaGuardia from the Charlottesville airport and drove right back to lovely Preptown, U.S.A., a place I know and love. I was very excited to be home for a lot of reasons. Like a lot of students, I couldn’t wait to have a mom cook for me, especially Thanksgiving food. I count down the hours until I can dive into the three types of stuffing served at the dinner table. But, whenever I come home, it is baked goods galore, no matter the time of the year. My mom is the female equivalent of the Muffin Man. She’s the Muffin Woman. It’s like the classic Oprah meme — you get a batch of cookies and you get a chocolate cake and you get banana bread. Except, my brother and I are all of the yous in that scenario. Another major plus is a nice laundry machine to use. It’s not the overpriced Old Dorms machines or the horribly-maintained machines in my apartment. No, I get to use the “High Efficiency” machines. For free. Never did I ever expect to get as excited to do my laundry at home as I get when I think about my first Survivor Hour back at U.Va. But, here I am, doing exactly that. Finally, the most important and exciting part about coming home is the unconditional love I receive from my yellow lab, Bella. Not only does she give me an excuse to go on long pensive walks where I ponder my life’s purpose, but she also wags her tail so fast when she sees me, I feel like the Dog Whisperer. Get out of my way Cesar Millan. And, if that’s not love, I don’t know what is. But, also like a lot of students, there are several things I absolutely dread about going home. By far one of the worst parts about being back in my small hometown in Connecticut is seeing a ridiculous amount of people I know literally wherever I go. Want to get coffee at Starbucks? Sure, Justine, as long as you’re okay with seeing several people you haven’t talked to since eighth grade. And, of course, you can’t just avoid them. No, you have to have an incredibly awkward conversation for 10 seconds pretending you actually care about what each other are up to now. You could care less about Lizzy’s time at Colgate, especially when you two had mad beef over the best swing on the swing set during your elementary school days. But, just smile through the pain. Can’t wait to go back to your way-nicer-than-the-AFC gym? Then expect to see several parents you’ve babysat for while you’re there. And, expect them to ask when if you’re free to babysit next weekend when they should definitely know that you’re not. Yes, I’m a full-time student, Mrs. Smith, at a school in Virginia. I’m not free next Friday night. Also, another dreadful thing is… change. Why does my hometown feel like it’s okay to go ahead and change fundamental parts of my childhood? For example, I find it incredibly rude that the Panera was just randomly removed from Main Street last year. I basically grew up in that restaurant, and now it is just another one of those lame Pilates studios. Even repaved roads make me emotional. Who said I wanted that special pothole fixed? It was one of the most consistent things in my life. And, another issue with going home is family. While it is definitely a pleasant part about going home, especially when your family is there to love and support you, at times family can really suck. There is no better, more eloquent way to put it. Sometimes, they’re just not completely accepting of the blossoming butterfly that you’re becoming at school. They’d rather you stay in your lame, high school cocoon. Family members just want to throw hate your way when no one asked for it, especially not you. No, I haven’t gained weight at school. Yes, I know I can get a job with that major, a lot of people do. No, I haven’t met my husband yet — geez, Grandma, stop being so pushy. Going home, while exciting, is a lot of overstimulation. Like a lot of students, I really love it. But I also find it making me feel incredibly stressed out and emo. So, when I say I can’t wait to go home, there’s a lot of me that can actually wait. After all, can’t I just make my own 25-pound turkey in the microwave, Mom? Justine Baird is a Humor columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.