‘Home is where I want to be, but I guess I’m already there’

Not many people can say that they’ve written two articles about the song, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads. 

Before I can start to explain why I am one of the few, I need to rewind four years to my junior year of high school. 

On a brutally cold and windy day in February 2020, I toured Boston University for the first time. I was 16 years old with no knowledge of what was to come — Zoom classes, canceled proms — we all know the drill.

Lila Baltaxe | Senior Graphic Artist

Yet, even through the 20 F real-feel, I could picture myself walking down Commonwealth Avenue, drinking coffee at Pavement and riding the T. I couldn’t exactly put it into words at the time, but it was just a feeling. 

A feeling that I belonged among the throngs of students, who I watched file into Marciano Dining Commons  and Mugar Memorial Library on my tour.

That night, I came down with a suspiciously COVID-esque illness that left me unable to complete my President’s Day Weekend college tour. Instead of continuing to visit nearby campuses like Tufts, Brandeis and Vassar, I sped home to New Jersey to recover. 

Less than a month later, I’d be bidding adieu to my high school for almost a year. My sub-zero tour of BU would end up being the only one I took before I began applying to colleges during the depths of the pandemic.

During the application process, I tried to avoid having a “dream school” so I wouldn’t feel too disappointed, but in the back of my mind, I knew that’s what BU was for me. So when I saw the word “waitlist” in my application decision, I was crushed. Soon enough, I declared my enrollment to American University as a sociology major. 

With a campus that took a maximum of seven minutes to walk from end-to-end and a population that was primarily made up of future senators and lobbyists, I knew AU wasn’t for me from the beginning. 

However, by the time I finalized my decision to leave, it was too late to start transfer applications for the following academic year. Instead, I chose to attend community college for my sophomore year and apply to schools for the Fall 2023 semester.

As a procrastinator till the very end, I finished my transfer application at 10 p.m. on the day of the deadline. When my response from BU came in early May, I was laying in bed, ill once again with a mysterious stomach flu. Even in my less-than-ideal state, I still had the energy to scream with excitement when I saw the digital confetti raining down from the acceptance letter. 

This excitement was soon met with an unwelcome companion: fear. As a transfer student, it wasn’t the normal first-day jitters that were plaguing me. I was a pro in that aspect, consideringI already had two of those under my belt. 

Instead, I couldn’t stop worrying that I would be “behind”, whether that be in completing my major, making friends or joining clubs. 

Not only was I a transfer, but I was new to journalism as well, which I’d started to pursue while attending community college. I feared I’d be lumped in with the freshman class or rejected for my lack of experience.

I was happy to learn that not only did no one care, but that BU was full of hundreds of other transfer students. Other than the unfortunately required experience of having to take COM CO101 as a junior, I never once regretted changing my major. BU made it easy to throw myself into a variety of COM-related clubs, where I could work on building my portfolio and meet new friends at the same time.

A few weeks ago, I went to see “Stop Making Sense”, a Talking Heads concert film, at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge to celebrate my 21st birthday. I shouted, sang, ran and jumped along with “Burning Down the House” and “Life During Wartime”. I also premiered some absolutely absurd dance moves that should only be seen in the darkness of a movie theater surrounded by my friends and fellow music lovers. 

When the film and my heart-rate began to slow down with the band’s performance of “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”, my eyes began to fill with tears. I’d always loved the song’s beautiful lyrics and David Byrne’s earnest rendition, but this time they rang true with a newer level of emotional depth. I felt an honest sense of connection and community that I’d never experienced before. 

Hi-yeah, I got plenty of time / Hi-yeah, you got light in your eyes / And you’re standing here beside me / I love the passing of time.”

“Home is where I want to be / But I guess I’m already there.”

Two years before, I was relieved to start a new chapter in my life, but was confused and scared about spending a year at home attending community college. 

A year before, I was anxiously celebrating my circuitous acceptance to BU. 

On my birthday this year, I was finally at BU. My dream school. 

After four years of the unexpected, I still ended up where I was meant to be.

It may sound cheesy, but it’s all true. To all of the incoming freshmen, transfer students and incoming seniors — I still can’t believe that I’m one of those — you have plenty of time. You are not behind. Learn to enjoy the passing of time and try not to rush into a life that you feel others expect of you. If all else fails, dancing and singing with friends is always a good idea.

My college experience has been far from orthodox. I’ve attended three schools in three years, lived in Washington, D.C., at home in New Jersey, in Boston and changed both my major and minor. 

But today, almost four and a half years since I first stepped foot on Commonwealth Avenue for the first time, I can confidently say that “I guess that this must be the place.”

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