I guess it will always be home.

Graduating from college was, emotionally, very easy.

I mentally checked out from Lock Haven University sometime during the summer of 2012, when I was stuck in back-to-back sessions of Spanish. I was jaded, tired, and pretty much all-around bitchy for the entirety of the summer — despite the silver lining that I only had one semester left. After four full years of LHU, two summer sessions and an extra semester seemed daunting.

When December 15th rolled around, I could not be happier. I went through the motions of my graduation ceremony, not really feeling any emotions. I went home the day after with the nagging thought of “aw man, I have to come back and pack up my apartment in a couple of weeks.” I celebrated Christmas with both sides of my family; celebrated New Year’s with my boyfriend and his family; and then headed back to Lock Haven to move out.

As I was packing up and cleaning my apartment, all I could think was that I could not wait to get home. To not have to go back to Lock Haven. I moved home in early January, not feeling any real emotion toward the place that I had called “home” for four and a half years.

Maybe that’s why it took me until this past weekend to go back for a visit. I absolutely owed my wonderful friends a visit, but the thought of heading to Lock Haven seemed so daunting. Finally, I sucked it up, planned a date, and after a long day of work on Saturday, I headed to LHU for the dance show.

I probably should have known that I shouldn’t have based my opinion of Lock Haven on my attitude during my final semester. I am no longer jaded and bitter, yet every time someone asked me if I missed LHU, I would be quick to say “nah, not really.” As I parked in the PUB parking lot and made my way over to Sloan, I laughed to myself a bit — campus hasn’t changed much (though, why would it? It’s only been a few months). As soon as I walked into the costume shop, I was attack hugged by a bunch of my friends. Ah, yes; this is the Lock Haven I love.

After the dance show (a familiar endeavor in and of itself), a bunch of us headed to Al’s, my favorite bar in town. As I sipped my beer, I realized how much I missed the atmosphere. Even though it isn’t a “dance” bar, when “The Wobble” came on, you’d better believe my crew got up and danced our butts off.

I packed so much into this visit it was unbelievable. It was great to be able to spend the day on campus, hanging out in Starbucks and at “the table.” I saw so many amazing people and felt right at home again — a feeling I haven’t felt in Lock Haven in a while. While there were some weird moments of feeling the stress from last semester when walking into certain places, I really did feel secure and comfortable. It truly was like I’d never left.

When it was time to go, I felt little pangs in my stomach that I never expected. I figured I could leave after this visit just as easily as I left after graduation. But no; my body and mind had other ideas. The ride home was tough, because this time I’m really not sure when I’ll get back up there. But, what I learned this weekend is this: no matter what negative feelings I held toward Lock Haven during my last few months there, it really always will be a place I can call home.

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