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What I miss about Juniata over break (and what I’ll miss for the rest of my life)

Jules Slater ’21, Advocacy Communication POE, Future Mayor of Picklesburgh

It took me a long time to get homesick during my first year of college. I missed my family (especially my dog), of course, but the intense homesickness we often hear so much about just didn’t set in. I believe this is because I’ve always felt like Juniata is my home just as much as my real home is my home. I’m reminded of this fact every time I leave Juniata for fall, winter, spring, or summer break. No matter how long I’m away from Juniata—whether it’s four days or three months (or eight months when I studied abroad)—I find myself homesick for the same things.

The first thing I always miss—obviously—are my friends and loved ones at Juniata. My roommate, my significant other, my favorite professor, my friend group… these are all people Juniata has led me to. But more than missing just these people and the wonder and excitement they add to my life, I miss the social aspects of campus that simply don’t exist in my hometown. Things like bingo on the quad or waving hello to someone from my window in Cloister’s arch. I miss having everything I need less than a city block away from me; friends and support system included.

The other thing I miss most about Juniata is the challenging atmosphere. When I’m on campus I feel there’s more to each day than going for a run, playing with my dog, and making dinner (this is, essentially, my life over break). I never know what each day will bring at Juniata! I don’t just mean that any day could be Mountain Day or Surprise Day… I mean that I’m never thrown in a rut with what I’ll be doing in my classes or what kinds of outdoor adventures I’ll embark in or even what kind of food I eat in Baker. In my experience, there’s always the possibility to find beauty and joy in each day at Juniata.

Juniata really does make me think about who I am. I feel that I’m a better person when I’m surrounded by people who love me and push me to greater limits academically and personally. As I reflect on the person I am today, I’m overwhelmed by the numerous people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had that I never would have even known existed without the common denominator that is Juniata College.

I’m painfully aware that I only have one semester left at Juniata. A month from now is likely to be the last time I ever drive back along Rt. 22, headed home to Juniata after a couple of months away.

I just got the email that the date for the class of 2021’s graduation has been set. As excited as this makes me feel, I’m also starting to realize that following graduation is the start of my “forever summer break” from Juniata.

Come May 15th, will I finally feel that homesickness I feared my freshman year, but instead, for this place that has been my home for the past four years? I guess I’ll have to wait and see.