Dear Second Semester,
I didn’t expect I’d be writing to you so soon. Honestly, you keep sneaking up on me at the most inconvenient of times, like while I’m basking in the sun and reading that book I said I’d finish last year, or watching Netflix for the first time in forever. Don’t you know how to leave someone in peace?
Reuniting with you is never the way I expect it to be. Last night I hopped off the plane, still carrying the Californian breeze in my suitcase and the smile of someone who finally ate In-n-Out, and you greeted me with a 20-degree hug and a huge pile of snow in my face. A goddamn pile snow. Who greets someone like that?
I dropped my bags off in my apartment, and amidst the smell of musky carpets and cramped ceilings, I sat down on my bed and for the first time in a while… you made me feel lonely. You made me think of friends I had meant to meet up with over the past month, a little sister with whom I didn’t have enough time to watch movies, conversations I forgot to have at the dinner table. You made me think of all the ways you rushed me back, reminding me that I’ll always live from a suitcase, how I’ll never have a permanent home anywhere I go.
See, reuniting with you was supposed to feel different. You were supposed to make me feel hopeful, make me believe in fresh starts. You were supposed to tell me that this semester will be better, that I will get better grades, make more friends, join more clubs. That I will have a new beginning, that I will be a better person.
But here I am instead, sitting on my bed, and I don’t feel different. I don’t feel more mature, more prepared, more relaxed. I try to ignore you and sleep before the first day of class (because let’s be honest, sleep is a rarity), but you won’t shut up. You won’t stop reminding me that soon we’ll be sharing instant ramen at midnight again, that I’ll have more days of struggling to find a table at Temple of Zeus, more long lines at the quesadilla station in Trillium. You’re remind me of trudging up the Slope at 7 a.m., and falling asleep at Olin at 4 a.m. You remind me of all the times I have wanted to abandon you, to run away and never look back.
But oddly enough, while I was gone from you, sometimes you crept in my mind. You snuck into my thoughts at the most unexpected of times, when I was sipping a latte in San Francisco, or trying to have a decent burrito for the first time in forever. But you didn’t remind me of essays and bad food at Okenshields and trips to Target that take forever — you reminded me of things like late-night talks in a warm apartment, and hot apple cider on a chilly morning. Running through wheat fields in the Ithacan countryside. Buffalo wings and messy fingers and funny faces. You reminded me of nights spent at the dance studios of Willard Straight Hall, feeling safe between the wooden walls and loud music and laughing conversations.
So, second semester, it’s time I admitted something to you. You might give me frostbite and grade deflation and an excessive amount of Canada Goose jackets. You might give me a pit in my stomach every time I reload Blackboard. And you might make me want to throw my iClicker across the lecture hall.
But you gave me a chance when I needed it most. You’ve brought me back to people who feel more like family than anyone else. You brought me back to board games on the couch and movies in the dark. You brought me back to novels in seminars and debates about politics, to sculptures in museums and staring at stars on the Arts Quad. You brought me back to a group of bright, young minds, who, admittedly, all missed you too. I guess you weren’t trying to rush me away from home, but bring me closer to it.
So second semester, I guess I’m glad we’re back together again. All I ask is that you take care of me, take care of all of us. You never turn out how I expect you to be, but I guess I wouldn’t rather be with anyone else.
Kelly Song is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Songbird Sings appears alternate Thursdays this semester.