"Frozen in the past, thawed in the present "

UB student reflects on coming back to campus after summer break


It’s 12:30 a.m. – my unofficial curfew. I was supposed to be home. I was supposed to be done with what felt like stuffing my life, or at the very least, my closet, into jumbo duffle bags. I was supposed to be lying in my bed, mentally preparing myself for leaving home again and going back to school.

But I hardly do what I think I’m supposed to do.

Instead, I found myself standing in front of a two-story Walgreens in the heart of Times Square prolonging inevitable goodbyes. I couldn’t imagine leaving my friends (again) or being constantly reminded that part of my independence drove away in my invisible car with my invisible license. Just the thought of being so far away from the place that makes me feel lively was dropping an anchor on my heart.

By August, freshman year morphed into a lump sum of drudgery and faded memories. I left my apartment at 5:30 a.m. for the last time kicking and screaming.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bad experience my freshman year. If anything, some of the best memories I have are from freshman year. But being home for the summer brought back the nostalgia of post-high school summer shenanigans, as if time stopped for nine months.

But as I was caught in sentimentalities, I didn’t realize I had those same feelings for UB. All the nearly forgotten memories came to the forefront the minute I unlocked my dorm room for the first time – I even almost forgot everything I did this summer.

As I walked around campus, everything felt the same as before. Actually, it felt like I never left UB in the first place. Everything picked up from where I left it in May, like being on campus magically unfroze time.

I found myself at crossroads. How can it feel like time has stopped in two places? And more importantly, which place do I belong to?

College is a time for exploration, expansions of networks and a time to figure out which societal niche feels the coziest. But all this doesn’t end when the semester is over and everyone goes home – it’s a perpetual cycle of self-evolution.

Some students feel like they are two different people throughout the year – the person they are in college is different than the person they are at home.

Think about it. Home life and school life are segregated. Our lives at home are a culmination of everything we were until high school graduation: childhood memories, neighborhood friends and those unfortunate pubescent teenage years.

But in college, home and school are one. I kept the mindset of school and home separate because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.
I should really stop doing what I think I’m supposed to do.

To continue the separation of home and school is nearly impossible, not to mention the conflicts and questions that arise. The feeling that time froze when I left school is a direct result of not realizing that I have two homes now.

After college, the unknowns of the “real world” awaits with nothing separating you from it. Time can’t be stopped or frozen – everything blends together. All the different facets of who you are, where you’ve come from and where you’re going will turn into one continuous timeline.

I don’t have the answers or solutions to how these two homes can be one cohesive home or how to unfreeze time in a place you aren’t always in. But it has to be possible because time is constant no matter where you are. What happens after college when there is no such thing as just home and just school?

I’m here to figure that out. To figure out where time continues and I fit in. And if there’s anything I want to learn this semester, I really hope it’s how to unfreeze time.

email: samaya.abdussalaam@ubspectrum.com