The night before I came back to Bard, I fell off my parents’ bed. I had been knitting while watching TV when the ball of yarn rolled off the bed onto the floor. I thought I could retrieve it without getting off the bed, leaned over too far, lost my balance and fell on the carpet. I mention this incident not to draw attention to my nonexistent social life, or as an omen having to do with coming back to Bard, knitting, or having no sense of gravity or spatial awareness (although that might have something to do with my going to Bard). I only want to illustrate the fact that I’m the same clumsy person who went off to college a year and a half ago.
It is not that I expected that going away to school would change me completely or even significantly. However, coming back home for six weeks in the middle of the school year has certainly kept me grounded. My parents were adamant that I continue my education by going away to school. They are always interested in hearing about my classes and activities. Nevertheless, while I live at home, their concerns lie in the more practical applications of my talents and achievements.
“Yo’uve learned such wonderful things in that Philosophy class. When are they going to teach you how to hang up your coat?”
It’s not just the bad personal habits I’ve kept throughout college and brought back home again that are met with disapproval. Apparently college has also failed to teach me How Not to Burn Toast, How to Remember What I Did With the Goddamn Remote, and How to Wear a Hat When It’s Freezing Out. I won’t even go into my failure to show any improvement in the field of shouting out answers to the questions on Jeopardy, even after three semesters and 48 credits at a liberal arts institution. Oh, the shame.
I’m no less annoyed when, at dinner, my sister breathes through her nose at me in that really annoying way, even though two semesters of psychology have helped me to understand that she’s being passive-aggressive because she feels powerless (and because I took the last corn muffin). Maybe if the break was shorter, I could keep up the “My education has made me a changed person” facade, but you can’t hide behind Nietzsche quotes for six whole weeks. Two weeks, tops. Eventually it’s going to come out that you can’t spell “Nietzsche” and you just learned how it’s pronounced.
“Did you know that Thoreau never did his own laundry, either? There’s already greatness in your future.” On the one hand, it’s nice to learn that you can go home and things will pretty much be the way they were. On the other hand, maybe I’ll look into studying abroad next January.