coming home at twenty two

How interesting it is to return to a place where I spent the past 4 years of my life and feel like an actual visitor.

I returned on Friday night and spent the evening catching up with my rooms over some delicious Mexican and margaritas, a now tradition for us. We were able to chat and laugh and get a good night’s sleep, despite a bit of a rude awakening around midnight…haha

Saturday was a day of reliving the college life. Saturday was the first time I had driven around campus in quite a while and just passing by Moseley and Alamance, I was reminded of the last couple of weeks of school and all the “lasts” but soon after those memories came those of my “firsts” at Elon. My first visit. My first weekend. My first homecoming weekend. My first Alpha Chi events. It’s such a weird feeling to really only think about the book ends of my time in college and miss everything in between. It was so wonderful catching up with friends who are also alums and those still at Elon. I also realized how much my life really has changed since graduating. I no longer see those things I did while I was in school as important or as “big of a deal” as I did then. I guess that’s a good thing though, right?! I went to the new/old Alpha Chi house and ran into all my friends, whether they be alums or undergrads and it was like I just traveled back to last fall when I was still a student. It was so normal yet I felt so separated and distant still. It truly is the strangest feeling I’ve experienced in a loooonnnnggggg time. It was wonderful seeing everyone and it made me so thankful for all my friendships despite how they’ve changed and how we’ve grown together and apart but yet, we can all still laugh and get along and appreciate one another.

Despite all the fun, it was very challenging balancing my time with everyone. I didn’t get to spend time catching up with some friends I hadn’t really gotten to talk to in 5 months or those I wanted to see more because it may be a while before I get to see them again. But the weirdest thing is that while my most of my really close friends and a few of my best friends were there–the larger group who impacted me the most while at Elon was missing. I felt almost  lost without Jeanine, Kierstin, Liane, and Coleman there. We spent so much time together the last 2 years that being at Elon, with the kids we went to school with, living the typical Elon way of life, made me so incredibly sad and lonely knowing they weren’t there. Yes, Taylor and Jason were there, but the majority of the group was missing. I thought a lot about our nights at Kierstin’s and J&J’s apartment and just had a huge smile on my face. Yes, we didn’t always do the most ‘exciting’ things but the fact I still enjoy thinking about it, means more to me than anything else. I was driving back to Taylor’s apartment on Saturday night and I drove the way I normally would “home” to Manning and had to tell myself, out loud, not to turn to go to Manning because it was so routine and normal for me. It was so strange but I did that drive, that late, so many times after late Mario Kart sessions, movie nights, game nights (no Risk for us, right J, K, L?!) :), or just long life chats. Those late night drive home were a time for me to reflect on my friendships and truly appreciate to call, whoever it was at the time, my true friend. Were things always rainbows and sunshines? No. Did we always get along really well all the time? No. But regardless of that, we stuck by one another and that to me is what makes it all the more true and special.

Don’t mind my rant on that–it was just a weird sensation to feel like being at Elon was normal and like I went there, but also feel like I was a visitor and it was only for a brief time, but it was really what I needed to push myself forward to my “real” life.

Elon will always be home, no matter what, but I realized yet again, it’s the people that make the home, not the place. Looking forward to coming home when we can all reunite again…let’s make it in Italy…thoughts?? 🙂ImageImageImage


time really does fly.

6 years. Doesn’t seem like that much time but when I really sit down and think about it–so much has changed in my life in 6 years and so we’re going to put that into perspective.

6 years ago: I was about to be 16 and a half, was a junior in high school and was worried about homecoming and what grade I was going to get on some small American literature assignment. Then 6 years ago, to this day, I lost yet another grandparent, my Grandma, and from this day until about now–things have been absolutely ridiculous (both good and bad) in my life. The passing of my Grandma was really the start to me growing up because I had to deal with more adult things.

In the last 6 years, I lost 2 Grandmas (well really that happened within 2 months), added 2 more nephews and 2 more nieces to the Franklin clan, went to 2 proms, became golf captain, quit competitive swimming, went on college tours, took impossibly difficult AP tests, took the ACT (4 times), applied to college, got into and rejected from college, chose a college, graduated high school, went to NC for college and hated it, joined a sorority, studied abroad in Florence for a semester, met my best friends, saw my nephew get confirmed and graduate 8th grade and turn 16, saw my niece turn 13, took really hard classes, traveled to many different places, had to figure out how to deal with group projects, became a leader in Alpha Chi Omega, took on leaderships roles in Italian Club and SHRM, went on fall and spring breaks, lost some friends, made new ones, graduated college, moved on my own, got my first “real” job, turned 18, 21, AND 22 and a WHOLE bunch more but I’d say those are the highlights.

And I thought 6 years wasn’t that long at all. It’s just amazing to me how much can change especially in the past 6 years of my life since I’ve grown up so much since I was 16. I really do miss the simple days of when I was young and something such as my brother calling me a name upset me. When now I’m forced to deal with real adult things and it’s scary but it’s also almost natural. I’m honestly kind of glad I was forced to deal with not so pretty things at a young age because I didn’t grow up thinking nothing bad would ever happen to me or those I loved and cared about. I think this was all brought on because I remembered that today marks the 6th anniversary of my Grandma’s death that started our family spiral into a really challenging and trying time. But those experiences are what teach us the most and I learned to rely only on a certain few and that we may not to pick our family but we have to love them anyways and then that’s when friends come in to play.

My friends over the last 6 years have gone through a typical transition: friendships change, grow, start, and end but all were exactly what I needed in that time. And I’m especially thankful for the friendship that has remained true and special over the last 6 years and that is my dear friend Carlee. Carlee and I are probably the same person, but complements of one another. We think very similarly but she is a bit more quiet where I’m clearly very outspoken–and that has changed some over the course of our friendship. College definitely changed us but we still remained as close as ever and learned how to appreciate one another more and were able to grow together. Now that we’re in our “real lives”, we have been much better about talking to each other on a regular basis and I’m so grateful for that because I honestly don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s been there for me too many times to count and I could never thank her enough for that constant support. Those that have stuck by me through college had a bit more to deal with and you know who you are and I can’t ever thank each of you enough. I know being friends with me is not always super easy and carefree, but I hope you know how much I love you guys and appreciate each of you for what you have done and continue to do for me. We get to choose our friends and by some miracle some of the best I know have chosen me and have continued to stand by me no matter what. I guess this whole time flying by thing has me being extra grateful and wanting everyone to know just how lucky I am to have such a wonderful support system in both my family and my friends.

Now: I’m almost 22 and a half, living in a new place, with some familiar but mostly new faces, in a job I really do love. It’s challenging, yes, but it’s helping me grow and find out who I am and who I want to be. I learn something new about either myself or someone else every day and that’s what I need to be thankful for. I’m so excited to see what the next 6 years will bring me and while it won’t always be good, it’ll help shape the person I’m supposed to be.

Here’s to reading this in 2018…wow, I’ll be 28 then?? Not going to worry myself with that now. so here’s to October 7, 2012.