Like Home

Today, Austin felt like home. Quite literally. At a cool fifty-six degrees, I finally got the chance to layer and wear a scarf. It rained on and off all day, water sprinkling onto my clothes, my hair, my skin. For the briefest of moments, when I first stepped outside my day, it felt like I’d never left Wisconsin.

Thus far, graduate school has been an adventure, to say the least. I’ve had moments when I’ve felt like I’ve made the best decision of my life, and moments when I’ve felt like I’m in over my head. Like I don’t belong. That’s just part of graduate school, I’ve heard. I accepted the fact that I wouldn’t know a damn thing upon entering it when I first decided to continue my education my senior year of undergrad. I remember telling one of my professors, “The only thing I think about grad school is the fact that I’m not going to no anything. That for a period of time, everything I know will be unstable.” She shook her head and told me that I was right. I haven’t been wrong.

That isn’t to say I regret my decision. I don’t. The complete opposite, in fact. No matter how stressed I get (and, with seminar papers approaching, I’m reaching the mountainous moment of stress), I know that I should be here. I fit in here. I love Austin, both the city and the campus. It feels right. And I have people: a wonderful group of friends that have helped to make the start of my graduate career so…lovely. Sometimes, I don’t know what to say in class. I feel like I should have read more, should be able to maintain the amount of conversation that my peers do at all times. Even when I feel inadequate, though, I still feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. I just need to work harder. To push myself.

And I’ve learned a lot about myself since I’ve gotten here. I’ve learned that I can move a thousand miles away from home and survive. I can learn a bus schedule. I can find my way home when I forget said bus schedule my second week here. I can find friends. I can be someone aside from who I was back home. I can go to concerts alone, can sit in a cafe in a city I barely know and hold a conversation with the barista about the comic book store we both happened to be in one night. I feel capable. I like what Austin has made me. And, no matter how stressful it gets, I like what graduate school is making me.

It was nice, though, to have the briefest of moments when everything around me felt like home.

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