Why College Is 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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How Happiness In A Relationship Is So Important

What is the happiness and love that we as individuals deserve when it comes to our relationship?

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It's different for each of us. Some prefer being showered in gifts, being showed off on social media, bragged about to family and friends. But, what is the one thing that all of those have in common?

That would be the unmistakable amount of love your significant other has for you, that they will do anything to show you that they love you unconditionally. We all show our love for one another in various ways. I for one love being shown the love someone else has for me in small things they do.

It could be a simple 'good morning love' text message or even just a hug out of the blue. Knowing that someone cares so deeply about you is one of life's greatest gifts. Knowing that another human being loves you and wants to be with you, it makes us drunk off of love and our heads float up to the stars.

However, when we don't feel that love, that connection, that reassurance from our significant other that they love and care for us back, it can be an extremely overwhelming and a lonely feeling.

We start looking for those feelings and connections elsewhere. In our friends for reassurance if we look good or blowing up their phones for attention.

We start caring about if other people find us attractive or not, we relish in compliments that other people give us. We start looking for that happiness elsewhere. It's not because you stop loving your significant other or stop caring about them, but we as humans need to feel important and like we are needed by another person.

When you stop letting your significant other know how much you care about them or showcasing your love for them, even if it's a simple gesture like holding their hand or holding the door open for them, they will begin to look elsewhere.

Now I am in no way saying that they will cheat on you, but your relationship and their attitude and feelings towards you will never be the same until you start showing them how much they mean to you just as much as they do for you. I don't condone cheaters or staying in a relationship that you are not happy in.

Yes, some relationships go through hard times like distance or a traumatic event. However, the way I see it is if you entered into the relationship, to begin with, you obviously cared about that person a lot and if they show you that they care and love you for the person you are and your past then they deserve the same in return from you.

Relationships are not always easy, they take time, determination, communication, compromise, and love to stay afloat. If one of you isn't willing to give your all and put forth the effort needed then it will never work. A relationship can't be successful if it is only one-sided.

Despite peoples life's being busy on a day to day basis, you need to always find time for your significant other. Because at the end of the day when things hit the fan, your significant other should be the one that will be there no matter what and always be by your side.

All in all, you need to treat each other the way in which you would want to be treated in a relationship and treat them the way they should be treated despite whatever chaos is going on in the world about you. Love is the conquer of all and should never be thrown around or not taken seriously.

Loving someone else is a gift we are given by God and never taken lightly.

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You Know You're From Trumbull, CT When...

The best memories are made in this boring, little, Connecticut town.

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1. The majority of places you will consider to eat at are in Fairfield or Westport... Colony, Shake Shack, Country Cow, Playa Bowls, BarTaco

2. But if you find yourself too lazy to get on 95 for food, Panchero's is the go-to... never Chipotle. If it is past midnight, the choice always comes down to the McDonalds in Monroe, where you are almost guaranteed to see a group of people you know, or Merritt Canteen.

3. Once you got your license, your Friday night plans consisted of picking up friends, driving up and down Main Street, and, somehow, always finding yourself at the THS parking lot seeing who's car is there because there is nothing better to do.

4. In the Fall, you couldn't wait for Friday so that after school you and half of your grade could walk to Plasko's Farm for ice cream and apple cider donuts... and hope you could get them before the owners would yell at you to leave. (This one only applies to Hillcrest Middle School kids, AKA the inferior middle school in town).

5. You couldn't wait to be a senior so you could officially lead the BLACK HOLE at football games... if you were even willing to go in the cold.

6. You looked forward to the annual Senior Scav, the last week of summer before your senior year where a list of tasks is passed down by the recently graduated class... the official kickoff to senior year.

7. You pass by Country Club Rd. and get flashbacks from the worst Cross Country practices ever. Driving up Daniels Farm Rd. in the Fall and Spring, you are conditioned to yell "hi" out the window to your friends at practice.

8. You knew someone who worked at Gene's gas station... and found yourself spending more time there on the weekends than you would like to admit.

9. You are convinced Melon-heads are real after frequenting Velvet St. to see the abandoned insane asylum with your friends, IF you didn't want to drive all the way up to Fairfield Hills in Newtown.

10. You have had/have been to at least one middle school birthday party at the Trumbull Marriott.

11. You know that the 25mph speed limit on Whitney Ave. is way too slow... and can't help but hit a little air going down the huge hill at the top.

12. The guy at Towne likely knows your name.

13. You never find yourself turning right out of THS... that side of town is irrelevant for those who do not live there.

14. You know to avoid the Merrit Parkway from 4:00-7:00pm at all costs.

15. You know more than you would like to about people you aren't even friends with... in a town so small, things get around very quick.

16. Going shopping really means going to Target, or any store in the mall, for the millionth time that week.

17. The marching band was the best in the state and you would see them practicing, literally, every time you drove by THS.

19. Depending on the side of town you lived, you spent a lot of time at Five Pennies Park or Indian Ledge Park.

20. You would say you couldn't wait to leave, but when you got to college, you find yourself excited to come back to your hometown so you can reminisce on old traditions and make new memories.

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