Have you ever noticed that, in plenty of forms of entertainment such as books or movies, whenever the main character was fighting an internal battle of some sort, he or she thought the best solution would be to go home?
This was always so strange to me. I would think to myself, "What's the point of doing that? How is changing your physical location going to help you figure your sh*t out?"
And then I went away to college.
This was when I learned to empathize with these characters. I finally understood what kind of safe haven home provides when life gets to be too much.
As a naive high school senior, I was so excited to start my life as a college student, dorming miles away from home to experience newfound freedom and the ability to live like a "kind-of" adult. But with each passing semester, the cons started outweighing the pros.
Sure, it was fun staying out all night with my friends or binge-watching my favorite TV show until the sun comes up – things I could never do at home – but I also developed a pretty severe case of homesickness.
Joining PAL was one of my ways of coping with the distance between me and home, but sometimes it wasn't enough, especially when my social anxiety would kick in bad enough to scare me into holing up in my room, all alone.
On top of all of that, school and my classes got a lot harder (crazy, right?). I always thought I was a pretty good student, but I started feeling kind of dumb in comparison to all the smart and driven people in my major, causing me to doubt that I was even in the right field.
Where else was I to turn when I felt so inadequate and alone? I would call my family. A quick phone call with my mom or a FaceTime session with my siblings would be all I needed to get through the week. But there were times that hanging up would be the hardest part of my day.
I started looking into bus tickets and rearranging my schedule to free up a weekend or two. Spoiler alert: as a college student with a job, involved in several organizations and extracurriculars, it was basically impossible. In my first two years of school, It was a pain in the butt, but the public transport travel was worth it when I could walk through my front door and cuddle up with my dog.
Granted, my car has been a godsend when it comes to the travel (thanks, Mom and Dad!), and the 3-hour drive has gotten a bit easier with each trip. As thankful as I am to have a job after graduation, I hate that it's still so far from home.
Long story short, I thank Hollywood for the depiction of home as the best place to turn for safety, protection, comfort, and happiness because that's what I have learned to value about my home since going away to college.