As the flight attendant announces, “attention passengers, we will now begin boarding flight number 4163,” it finally hits me that I have officially completed my first semester of college!

The last few weeks at Harvard have been a blur, but three exams and two papers later, finals season has come to an end. Due to the fact that I was so anxiously awaiting this season's end, I had not realized another had begun, and was already in full swing. Now that I've caught my breath, I look around the airport and see the endless check-in lines extending outside the building, not a seat left in my gate, and hear the frustrated sighs from those whose planes have been delayed: The holidays have come.

Do Yeon Kim

“The holidays” are absolutely music to a college student’s ears, to my ears. They signify the end of fall semester, the end of finals season, and a nice, month-long break. To be honest, the entire time I studied for my finals, I held onto this moment. I imagined getting on this flight and returning to Minnesota, where problem sets, 10-page papers, and 9 a.m. classes were just a distant memory.

However, I was surprised that, as the day to leave campus neared, it felt bittersweet to say goodbye to my friends and to the place where I've lived my life for the last four months, problem sets and all. I had expected to be ready for a break, to be nothing but ecstatic to head back home, but that bittersweet feeling told me I had been doing something right in Massachusetts.

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Regardless, I couldn’t wait to return to Minnesota, to see my family, eat home-cooked food, and not have to worry about using shower shoes (this is one thing I never expected to say).

I have always liked this part of the year, for several reasons. There is a ton of snow, good food, and time to kick back and meet up with friends and family. Also, the year is wrapping up, and this has always been the optimal moment to take time to reflect on the past year. One thing I know for sure is that I have much to be appreciative of. I am thankful for the wonderful people in my life (new and old) and a successful ending to my semester.

I am lucky that I now have two places I can call home — Minnesota and Massachusetts. I am grateful for that snow, good food, time to kick back and meet up with friends and family, and so much more.

In the plane, I look out the window to see my snow-covered home state. It is good to be back. The seat-belt sign turns on as an announcement begins: "This is the captain speaking. We are beginning the landing process, and I would like to welcome you to Minnesota.”

This column is a regular feature of the Tribune's monthly WAVE page. Do Yeon Kim is a Detroit Lakes High School graduate who is now in her first year of college at Harvard.