Kylie Kroger

The Last Four Months

Kylie Kroger
The Last Four Months

Very rarely do I write recaps of my life. But in this case, it feels really important.

The last four months have been a really interesting experiment in getting to know myself. I held a lot of beliefs about myself and where I come from and so much of that has challenged.

In August, I began attending Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana. North Manchester is an incredibly small town tucked in the northeast of Indiana. The campus is filled with Oak Trees that seem to touch the heavens and in the fall the campus is scattered with Oak Leaves the size of a grown man's head. I originally loved the campus because it was small; the population slightly smaller than the size of my high school.

In my time at Manchester, I have met some of the most wonderful people. In more occasions than one, I have bonded with people who in any other circumstance, I don’t know if we ever would’ve connected. But for some reasons, worlds collided and my heart is forever changed by the people that have come into contact with it.

The things I have come to realize about myself from this experience largely have to do with forgetting everything I ever told myself about what exactly home is.

I have realized, when deprived of the city, I crave it in a way I cannot properly describe. I like that I never have to wonder if there is someone who is also awake, pondering life and driving in their car with the windows down, the music and the wind the only noise to break up the silence. In the city, I know there is someone always who is also doing this. The city is too much to not feel this need. I need the lights and the noise and the way I can see a skyline from the street I live on. The way the highway is always alive, creeping into the silence through my bedroom window.

The biggest thing has been that I realized that from my earliest memories, I always wanted out of the place that I am from. I was so sure that the promise of someplace new was better. I have come to disagree with this more than anything else I have ever previously believed. A friend recently sent me a quote, something about blooming where you are planted. I always said I would never grow by staying in this place that I know like the back of my hand. But then I left behind all the people who know me like the back of theirs. I realized how I have composed a family for myself, in a city that I adore, and I left them in hopes of better things.

I found these things out about myself. That’s the whole point of leaving home. But here I am, four months later, coming home.

I glamorized the feeling of leaving home. I made it out to be cinematic and poetic. And maybe sometimes it is. One day I may decide that I want to live in some other city. I just realized that is not something I want yet. 

But I have come to realize that being twenty is largely made up of false expectations and often not realizing the beauty of something because it is too familiar. Too ordinary.

In two weeks, I am making the trip from North Manchester back to Columbus, the same trip I made four months ago.

I have learned about myself and the kind of places my heart needs to feel alive. I have learned that there is nothing shameful about staying put for a while, and to bloom where you are planted. I have learned about who I am in friendships. I learned about the versions of myself, and which version I can feel comfortable being day to day. The version I view as the truest of blue version of myself.

I learned that writing is probably one of the only things that will ever feel this natural. Getting to write for my university’s newspaper has convinced me that getting a degree in writing or journalism is worth every last “good luck finding a job” comment. Because nothing makes me feel more like myself than hearing people share their stories and getting to see people light up when they talk about things they are passionate about. I realized how much I value and enjoy getting an education, and that I won’t stop until I get a degree in something I actually enjoy.

I’m twenty. Like most twenty-year-olds, I’m winging it. One day at a time I’m trying to figure this whole life thing out. Right now, writing from my dorm room that is scattered with empty coffee cups and small trinkets to remind me of prior days, I can't help wondering if this is a side effect of being twenty; always having a mind filled with questions of what is to come. 

I cannot wait to be home. I realized that sometimes all you need to grow is the encouragement from the people that know you best. I realize now that maybe one day I will move away again from a city that I love with everything in me, but that day is not coming anywhere in the near future. 

The last four months have been an advenutre, and I cannot wait to be home.