Being away at college has changed pretty much everything for me. Some things for the worse, some for the better, but mostly I think it’s just different. For example, I no longer have curfew, I’m living in one tiny room with another person, I don’t have a car at my disposal anymore, classes are shorter, and the burden of all responsibility falls on me. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the freedom of college life, but being away from home and “on my own” has made me truly appreciate what I left behind. The expression “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” perfectly describes how I’ve been feeling during these first few weeks of college life. The things I miss the most are the little things like home-cooked food, being able to wash my clothes for free, not wearing shoes in the shower, and not having to share one bathroom with my entire floor. The absence of all these things has made me appreciate the times when I had them at my disposal. I think I’ve been hit the hardest by the absence of my family and friends. One of the most important things to me is my relationships with loved ones at home. I know every college student has parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, friends, and significant others that are not with them in college. I think that being away from the people that I love has given me a new appreciation for the fact that they are here for me always. I don’t think that I ever took them for granted, but being a lot further than a short car ride away makes me think that I took for granted the time I spent with them, face to face. While it’s really great to talk with someone on the phone, Facebook, Skype, or text them; I think there is just no replacement for being with someone. On Skype you can’t use your hands to gesture or demonstrate something, you can’t reach out and touch the other person’s arm to get your point across, or give them a hug. Do I get homesick sometimes? Of course I do, but I know that it will take a lot more than college to stop me from loving my family and friends; we will keep in touch and up to date with each other’s lives. I know now that when I come home on breaks and for the summer, I will truly enjoy the time that we spend together. However, I don’t have to wait until winter break to begin to treasure time spent with friends and family; I can start right now, by valuing the time I spend with all the new people that I’ve met and will continue to meet. Everyone says that college goes by fast, so why not appreciate what I have now instead of later on? So far, the most important thing that I’ve learned in college is not something from any of my classes, but about the value of time spent in the company of those you love.