Why Do We Call College "Home"?

Why Do We Call College "Home"?

What does home mean to us, and how do we find it at school?

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On Sunday night, when I returned to campus after Thanksgiving Break, my mom called me. She wanted to know how the bus trip back was. When I caught myself saying that I had gotten "home," I stopped: "yeah, I'm ho -- er, back," I said. I could hear the sarcastic tone of her response through the phone, one that I feared was marked by hurt.

The truth is, I've always referred to college as my home. It must have started soon after I first arrived here as a freshman over three months ago. I don't remember the exact moment that I began to call this place home, because it never felt like a big deal. When I approached my roommates about this, they said they had gone through the same ordeal with their parents, and fervently stood behind the idea that our dorm was our home. It wasn't our home, but it was our home.

Following our discussion, I thought about the kinds of things that made me want to call college -- the place where I happen to study and live -- my home. Before I thought about this, calling college home was just a knee-gut reaction with subconscious reasoning. Focusing on it forced me to understand the features I so valued at my real home, back in New Jersey.

For one, my home was my home because of the people around it. In high school, I established a close circle of friends who quickly became an integral part of my life. We went to each other with everything, from math problems to friend drama to existential crises. My friends became my family, and my family made me feel like I belonged to something. I could never feel lonely for too long. And wasn't feeling like you were a part of something the essence of being home?

Another thing about my big town that made it home: the fact that it was mine. Maybe this wasn't so much a physical fact as a feeling. It was that feeling of security, that idea that everything you ever knew was right there, the one you got when you were cruising down side streets at midnight and blasting the radio on the drive home from a friend's house. This was the place where I had grown up and went to school and made friends. And therefore, it was my home.

Finally, and perhaps most literally, I considered our house in New Jersey a home because it was where I spent most of my time. Though in truth I seemed to spend more time outside of it as I got older, my house was still the place where I slept for eight hours every night (on a very good day), ate most of my meals, and saw my family. It was where I ended up after every long day, and so it was my home.

After contemplating the true elements of a home, I started to apply them to my new experiences at university. The first element I thought of, about home being made up of the people around you, was the easiest one to apply.

From the moment I arrived on campus, I met a few people on my floor that would soon become my best friends. Namely, my roommates. Our triple became a daily meeting place where academic troubles would be laid out, floor gossip would be spoken of in explicit detail, and support, whether a hug or a simple "you got this," would always be found. I couldn't help but compare our little community to the one I had at home -- the one that had made me feel like I belonged.

And then there was that feeling of owning this space, a space that I happen to share with over 30,000 other students. This did not come to me as fast as my friendships had -- but it was fast, nonetheless. I started to get a solid feel for the campus after my first week here, and by the second week I had known where nearly all the academic buildings were and how to get to them. Today, my friends refer to me to find the best bus route to get them to their destination. The familiarity that came with exploring campus every day and establishing weekly traditions with friends (like our Sunday brunch at The Bagel Place) made Maryland mine.

The fact that I spend nine-ish months out of the year here also makes it a home. But more than that, once I was here for a month, I felt like I was here for a year, as if I had always known how to live here.

I realize that this comes off as a very dream-like, idealized picture of college life, and that many new students never get this homey feeling. What's worse, they'll end up transferring to a different school because of it. I know that I got lucky with my roommates and my experience as a whole, but I also know that I'm not the only one who feels this way. This is why I wanted to look into the idea further and to find out why exactly we call college home.

I could just be overthinking it too in an attempt to make sense of this experience. Maybe it's about nothing more than merely liking it here, or maybe it's because most of us have been conditioned to look at college in such an idealistic way.

In any event, whether you find your group here or think you know everything there is to know about your college, you see a home here -- and that's worth a thought.

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18 Things That Were Only OK in Middle School

I'm wearing a skirt tomorrow, wear one with me!

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Ah middle school, the good old days! Back when our only worries were if other girls would be wearing a skirt too and if Josh from homeroom would see the note you left in his locker. Take a walk down memory lane to your middle school days.

1. Layered. Camis.

Sara Ursum

The finishing look to any ~fashionable~ outfit.

2. Colored braces!

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If you're going to be stuck wearing braces you might as well make it fun! Black and orange for Halloween!!! Red and green for Christmas!!

3. Knee high Converse

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Just because Avril Lavigne could pull it off didn't mean that we should, but we did it anyway.

4. Blue eyeshadow

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We suddenly got access to makeup and we thought that blue eyeshadow was the right way to go. Nice.

5. Poking people on Facebook

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Poke wars truly were the best way to spend a Tuesday evening after finishing your homework.

6. 1 <3 BOOBIES bracelets

Flickr

"It's to support people with breast cancer" Yeah, ok Chad. If you had this bracelet BEFORE they got banned from your school, you are by definition, cool.

7. An emo phase

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And if you went through this phase you're probably still a little bit emo.

8. PINK sweats

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The one and only thing on your birthday list because these sweatpants cost a FORTUNE.

9. Hollister/Abercrombie skirts

Poshmark

You've planned this outfit for WEEKS but what if Carly doesn't wear hers tomorrow!

10. Tying your shirts with a hair tie

Nickelodeon

Look, we were small people given giant shirts. What were we supposed to do about it?

11. Feather hair

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This was the ultimate stamp of "cool".

12. Facebook TBH and LMS

Morgan Shaffer

These were the things you stayed up for during sleepovers and hoped your crush would like your status.

13. Typing like thissssssssssssss(:

I loveeee uuuu!

14. Reading/writing fanfics

And if yours was really popular and it was anonymous, you were basically the coolest in homeroom, but nobody knew it.

15. Trying on prom dresses and taking pictures to post on Facebook

Kamryn Romano

So cringy looking back on it.

16.  Editing the f&*# out of pictures

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Because you had to show your friends love somehow.

17. Tagging your friends in pic grids

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Show off your CLOSET friends to the rest of your timeline.

18. Taking one million pictures before the dance

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Gotta make and save those mems!

And if you still do 85% of these things, you're still cooler than most. Long live middle school!

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5 Stories That Shook America in 2018

It's been a long year. These stories prove that.

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Now that 2018 is officially over, we can look back on the year's most significant ups and downs and reflect on what's to come next. This year saw the emergence of two large-scale movements that broke down barriers and shook up society, increased our understanding of social media's implications, and revealed the troubling extent of America's immigration crisis. The following five news stories were some of the most covered national events of 2018. Each reflect the tumultuous, eye-opening, inspiring year 2018 has been.

Facebook's Mishandling of User Data

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress in April.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsF4y8oAdkn/

This social media giant has long been the target of government criticism, but its troubles seemed to peak last year in March. That's when federal regulators began to investigate Facebook's mishandling of user data in connection with the 2016 presidential campaign. The Federal Trade Commission's investigation came in response to reports that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly gained access to 50 million users' information, and exploited this information in Trump's favor during the election. Since then, Facebook's stock value has plummeted, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has launched an aggressive apology campaign. In April, he appeared before an unforgiving Congress to answer questions about Facebook's lacking privacy policies. The company's repeated failures to protect user data will most likely lead to stronger federal regulations come 2019.

March For Our Lives

Emma Gonzalez, a Parkland survivor and one of the movement's organizers, speaks at the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C.

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On February 14, 2018, seventeen students and teachers were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Days after the tragedy, Parkland students flooded major TV networks demanding gun control. The March For Our Lives movement was created by a group of MSD juniors and seniors with the goal of rallying their generation for gun reform, in the hopes that one day school shootings would be a thing of the past. One month later, over 2,000 schools participated in a nationwide walkout to mark the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. Ten days after that, millions gathered in Washington D.C. to march in solidarity with the students of MSD and send a message to lawmakers. As many of these students reach voting age in the coming year, it will be interesting to see how politicians respond to their demands, and the gun control legislation that will follow.

Family Separation 

A portrait of Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, the second Guatemalan child to die in U.S. Border Patrol custody following implementation of the "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

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The Trump Administration's family separation policy at the border, first practiced in October, is perhaps the most controversial act thus far by one of the most controversial presidents. On April 6, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the "zero-tolerance" immigration policy that would soon separate thousands of children, and many infants, from their parents as they reached the United States. Unsurprisingly, the American public reacted swiftly and angrily to the policy, and their outrage peaked in June when photos of children held in cages began circling the internet. Judges have ordered that the Department of Homeland Security reunite separated families, but the agency has failed to reach two different deadlines, and as of three months ago as many as 200 children remain in government custody. With recent reports that two Guatemalan children have died in Border Patrol custody, this tragic issue won't be going away in 2019.

#MeToo

Actress Ashley Judd, who became one of the first women in Hollywood to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault in a 2017 New York Times exposé.

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The #MeToo movement began in late 2017 when a New York Times exposé featured firsthand accounts from several women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. As more and more men were forced to step down from powerful positions, Alyssa Milano coined the hashtag "MeToo" to represent victims of sexual assault, and hence the movement began. The following months saw the creation of the Time's Up coalition, the record-breaking second annual Women's March, the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, and the imprisonment of Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Larry Nassar. This movement, which took hold over not only Hollywood, but each profession, has brought permanent change to the country as women gain more seats in office and more representation in media. #MeToo has set the precedent for future steps toward gender equality in 2019.

Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford prepares to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in October.

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Publicized by the #MeToo movement and defined by the political loyalties of skeptical conservatives, Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings kept the nation on edge for two weeks in mid-October. The reason: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and alleged that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a party when they were in high school. The poise with which Ford presented her testimony, contrasted with the emotional turbulence that characterized Kavanaugh's defense, both moved and shocked the many Americans who watched the hearings unfold live on television. After an initial delay, the confirmation vote proceeded, and Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court on a narrow 50-48 vote split along party lines. To many, Kavanaugh's confirmation symbolized just how much progress the United States has yet to make in its treatment of sexual assault victims, and how little the nation has changed since Anita Hill testified against then-nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991.

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