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If there’s one thing everyone seems to get excited about at the end of the semester, it’s about going away. Although no one likes moving, whether to go home or travel to some foreign land for an internship, the vast majority of people are ecstatic about getting out and away.

I wasn’t. In fact, I was sort of dreading it.

Last summer I was at home, working for my mom’s new company. While I love my mom and I loved the experience of working in that environment, I discovered that working from home, despite being a career luxury that many people aspire to have, is not something that I enjoy.

Why? I still had to live by my parents’ rules and still had to deal with my siblings. I love my high school friends, but I didn’t get to have the fun experience of meeting new people everywhere I went like I did at MIT. Seeing all the Facebook posts from my friends out doing productive things with their UROPs or internships and hanging around in Boston didn’t help either.

I felt like I had been sent back to high school.

MIT taught me more than 18.03 and 3.091 my freshman year; it taught me how to be independent, and I enjoyed it. I loved being able to take care of myself, make my own commitments, and really discover the real me.

Being at MIT was like wearing a shirt that your parents bought you when you were 12 and said that you would grow into it. It was a little roomy at first, kind of intimidating, and not that likable to begin with (especially sitting through 8.01), but eventually you grow to like it. Before you know, it fits like a glove.

As I sat on the plane going back to Arizona, I was both happy that I was getting a break and secretly loathing that I was going to be stuck in my boring hometown for a week and a half.

But then something happened.

I was sitting around playing video games one day. I hadn’t planned much to do, and I just placed myself in the shoes of my family and friends; how did they feel that I was coming back? The truth is, they all love seeing me, even if I’m not the most excited to see them at that moment. Especially from my little sister, you could see the excitement and joy in her eyes that her brother was back at home. That kind of emotion from someone close to me is something I couldn’t help but reciprocate. As I continued to have great times hanging out with my old friends and family, I realized that I actually didn’t want to leave.

I chose to go to MIT because the people and places made me feel at home. Even though I’m only halfway done here, I came to realize that I had forgotten that my parents’ house is also my home. The short vacation I took, even though I was apprehensive about it at first, was one of the best ones I’ve ever had.

Going back home is hard and leaving home is hard, but I’m glad I did. If I hadn’t left my first home two years ago, I would never have discovered what I now know to be my second home.