I was more excited to come back to Bard this fall than I've ever been to return anywhere. Every time I thought "It's almost time to go back to school," I'd get this jolt of energy and remain hyper for about 20 minutes straight. For me, that's pretty impressive.
When I dragged my suitcases into my room up here, I got excited all over again. I love being here amongst the trees, long winding roads, and cute little towns. My Aunt and Uncle are spectacularly wonderful people and I love spending my time here with them.
The next day, I met up with some of my old (and new!) friends and my heart was simply racing with happiness. I drank decaf coffee that day because I felt like my heart would race out of my chest.
The day after that, I showed up at orientation and met all the "new kids." They were lovely and bright-eyed and enthusiastic. (After a week of school, they still are. This is a good sign.) Then Dawn walked in and I was flooded with a sense of joy and anticipation for the coming semester. She gave me a huge, warm hug and complimented my new haircut. She told me that she'd missed me this summer and was so glad to see me again. The feeling was completely mutual.
As I went to bed that night, I began to think about why I had been so happy about coming back to Bard. And the more I thought about it, the more obvious it became. Bard has become a safe place for me, a nurturing place for my personality, creativity, and artistry. I feel encouraged and emboldened to try anything, to push myself harder than ever before, and to explore the many facets of myself. My teachers here have done nothing but build me up and help me become more of what I'm meant to be. My colleagues are not only talented, but they're caring, funny, and insightful. I have never been with a better group of people (for an extended period of time, at least) and I was so happy to get back to them and to this amazing environment that my teachers have worked hard to create.
Do I miss my loved ones back home? Of course. But I'm so happy that when I'm away, this is where I am. I'm growing, learning, and refining every day. There is nothing more I could ask for. I have all the tools -- I just need to use them to make something fantastic.