The Definition of "Home" to a College Student
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Politics and Activism

The Definition of "Home" to a College Student

A quick look at the difference between a "house" and a "home" after living at school.

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The Definition of "Home" to a College Student
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Most college students aren’t planning on moving back home with their parents when they graduate (sorry Mom and Dad). This causes somewhat of a limbo for college students. Are we living at school and just visiting home? Or are we living at home and just spending the year at school? Which address should I put on my voters registration? My license? Even if I put my “home” address away from school, that’s just going to change again once I leave school. I personally would not refer to my apartment as my home. I don’t own it, my parents paid for it, and half of my stuff is still back with my parents. My apartment is like my temporary squatting zone. That zone changed from the dorms last year to my on-campus apartment this year, and it’ll change again when I move off campus next year.

Another complicating factor in my family involves my parent’s divorce and move to California. Now instead of visiting my childhood home in Oregon, I drive on overcrowded California highways to visit two different houses, neither of which are my home. Many other college student’s parents moved after they left for school, and I can personally testify that it’s one of the weirdest things ever. My childhood bedroom had a horrifically crooked hot pink stripe around the room with pink doorknobs on the closet doors. My old living room carpet probably still has pizza stains from our friday night blockbuster/pizza party nights. My backyard is soon to be dusted with snow and unfamiliar snowmen that I didn’t make. I wonder if the family that lives there now ever made anything of my “secret hideout” in the attic. I don’t have nearly as many fond memories in any of the places I’ve lived in since then.

In addition, it's weird living away from high school friends and seeing their snapchats over the breaks. Going back home to anything other than the house you grew up in is a foreign concept that I’ve yet to grasp. Regardless of where you’re going home to, however, it’s not the same after college. There’s a whole world that’s been introduced to me in school, and going back to family just seems off. I always spend breaks anticipating seeing all my friends and pulling last minute all-nighters. I can’t say that I really miss the home my family is in. Sure, I miss my family all the time, but I don’t really have any connection to where they’re living. It’s not my home. College has made me question where my “home” is, and while I can’t point it out on a map, my home is where the people that I love are. As corny as it may seem, I’ve found that home really is where the heart is.

Therefore, I've come to the conclusion that I have “houses” all over. One with my dad, one with my mom, one back at school. None of them would feel like “home” however, if it weren’t for the people there. My family and friends are exponentially more important to me than any permanent address. Therefore, I’ll continue to update the address on my license until I find that feeling of a physical home again.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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