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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Troy University Needs to Realize That There Are More Students Than Greek Life And SGA

"In unity, there is strength." - Riverdale

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At Troy University, there are three groups present on campus: those that are Greek, those that are a part of the Student Government Association, and those that are don't affiliate with either.

During my search for a college to attend, one of my stipulations was that I didn't want Greek life to be the only dominant force on campus (along with things such as cost, location, majors offered etcetera). Troy University boasts a Greek population of only 20% and this number intrigued me because, at many schools, it seems to be a higher percentage of students. However, after attending Troy University for a little over a semester now, I doubt this number because every time I turn around, another student is telling me about what sorority they are a member of, or about what fraternity they are a member of on campus.

And, admittedly, prior to the first SGA election, I was pretty clueless as to what SGA was because SGA was not a big deal at my high school. To be more truthful, I didn't understand the full extent of SGA until now while the SGA presidential race is happening.

Greek life isn't bad and those that are a part of Greek life aren't bad. The SGA isn't bad and those that are a member of the SGA aren't bad. It just feels like Greek life and SGA goes hand-in-hand for those that are independent and makes being involved on campus that much harder.

Those who ran for SGA will promote the fact they are a part of a sorority or fraternity, and thus, represent the student body; however, if only 20% of Troy's campus is Greek, how is this true? Something like this is what I mean. There's a lack of awareness that there is more to this campus than SGA and Greek life.

There just needs to be more attention brought to the lack of awareness of those who aren't Greek nor SGA.

For example, during Homecoming, independent organizations participated with the frats and sororities in events such as chalk the quad and making banners. Not one independent organization was promoted for chalk the quad, and I know, as a member of an independent organization, we had to ask to be recognized for winning a place for our banner. I am grateful that we were at least recognized but it shouldn't feel like fighting a war to be recognized alongside Greek organizations for completing the same activities.

This is an open plea to the new SGA President -- bring students together, all students because that is what will make Troy University a stronger college.

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Jamie Stockwell On Life, Learning, And News

The story of a woman who usually tells the stories herself.

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Jamie Stockwell, Deputy National Editor of the New York Times, shared both her story and her experiences as a storyteller to a public policy and leadership class at the University of Maryland on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

Originally from southern Texas, Stockwell received a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, where she worked at their on-campus publication, the Daily Texan. After graduating, she spent 8 years working at the Washington Post, before heading back to Texas to work in San Antonio.

It was in the newsroom in San Antonio that she credits her learning of how to be an editor, and it was there that she was thrown into coverage of issues such as border security and environmental concerns.

After being in San Antonio for eleven years, Stockwell accepted a position at The New York Times.

"I really admire local newspapers, they're doing a bang-up job," Stockwell said. However, when New York came calling, Stockwell took the call, leading her to where she is today.

Currently, Stockwell serves as the deputy national editor at the Times, and while she has only been there for about 8 months, she is already aspiring to make her mark.

"I have like 25 years left to do this, and that makes me really sad," Stockwell said. As an industry, Stockwell has seen journalism evolve, with its embrace of the digital age bringing new platforms and new challenges to the concept of news reporting.

This evolution has broadened news, making it now accessible to anyone and everyone, making it difficult to remain objective. When asked about this, Stockwell said that the best thing she can do in terms of objectivity is not to let any of her opinions seep into her coverage and to make sure that when gathering information, all sides of the story are considered. Stockwell spoke of the importance of quoting both men and women, liberals and conservatives, and all sides of every spectrum of a story.

When it comes to sources, Stockwell said that the best way to decide whether or not the source is credible to consider what the motives of the source are.

"If your mom says she loves you, check it out," Stockwell said, proving that in the world of journalism, no words can be taken as they are, and all statements, even "I love you's," require thorough investigation.

For the students, Stockwell did offer some advice on how to make it in a newsroom, saying that the number one thing she looks for in an employee is curiosity.

"Work your butt off when you're young," Stockwell said, showing students that in the world of writing stories, a success story for oneself comes through interest, desire, and the drive to always do better, and to always work hard.

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