Jacob Lawrence is back

Jacob Lawrence is a freshman at UMass, Amherst, majoring in communications. — courtesy of Jacob Lawrence

After 18 is an ongoing series about what four graduates from the class of 2013 are doing this year.This week’s dispatch is from Jacob Lawrence, who is attending the University of Massachusetts, where he is a declared communications major with a minor in Spanish. Jacob, 19, grew up in West Tisbury and is 2013 graduate of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

It’s finally over. College kids all over the country are returning to school because the seemingly endless winter break is finally over; and the general consensus, at least for the freshman, is “thank goodness!”

My break started off really great with a trip to the mountains with my uncle and little cousins to break in the brand new snowboard I bought over the fall. Unfortunately, that was more or less the high point. Don’t get me wrong — it was great to see my parents and some of my friends and share some of my experiences from my first semester away from home with all of them. Not to mention the quality and amount of sleep I received was great. It’s amazing how well you can sleep when your mind isn’t racing thinking about the three papers that are due on the same day or when there aren’t a bunch of kids running up and down your hallway screaming at three in the morning — on a Tuesday!

Nevertheless, my break turned really boring really quickly when I realized that I did not have all of the resources at home that I have at school to occupy my time: no hockey or basketball games at the Mullins Center, no malls or fast food restaurants to go and hangout at with your newfound friends, no newfound friends in general, and in my opinion the worst part of all: no basketball courts to play at. Obviously I don’t share the same experience with other students home on break, but for me it felt like I did nothing but watch TV, play video games, and try to make plans with friends, which ended up falling through because either they were sleeping and being lazy or I was sleeping and being lazy. Also ask any college kid who has ever gone to a party: once you have experienced your first college party, there is no going back to high school parties. How I made it six weeks I will never know.

When I got back to school, it was great. I got to see all of the friends I had made last semester, we shared the traditional stories about our break and our holidays and we were as close as ever. When I asked them about how it felt to be home again, they all echoed my same thoughts: it was fun for a couple weeks and great to see family and friends, but it got old really quick. A couple days later I was in my dorm room napping on my bed when I came to realize why I felt so bored, and tired and a little “out of my element” while I was at home. While a lot of it was because I had a whopping six weeks off, I can’t stress that enough, it was also because college is much more than a physical move out of your childhood home, it’s an emotional one as well. At college I have started to think of things on a more global scale; not just how my actions and those of others will affect me, but how they affect everyone around me as well. I have the resources here to accomplish whatever action I feel needs to take place. At home, I didn’t have even half of the resources I have here. I was “trapped,” which is ironic seeing how my room at home is a whole lot bigger than the half of a room I have at college.

I am about four weeks into the second semester here at UMASS, but unlike my first semester, I hit the ground running. The fraternity I am pledging started right up the first week of school and shortly after everything else fell into place and my other clubs from last semester started up as did my classes and unfortunately, like last semester around this time, I am up to my neck in homework, reading, and research essays. I guess some things never change.