I went to college 247 miles away, leaving the comfort of my suburban house that was located twenty minutes from Kansas City. I lived in that house since the age of 5 so that's fifteen Christmas mornings, birthday parties, New Years Eve celebrations, and summer adventures. I grew up beside a big brother who taught me to create the picture, rather than color inside the lines, and to live outside of society's box. I adored my faithful yellow Labrador who taught me how to love unconditionally with a wagging tail and slobbery kisses since I was 6-years-old. My childhood best friend lived right up the street and we effortlessly conquered elementary, middle, and high school together. I was raised by parents who gave me absolutely everything while teaching me the importance of giving back. Familiarity resided in my house in Kansas City and when I went 247 miles away, I didn't live there anymore.
The first semester of my first year in college, I was homesick for my house, the familiarity of knowing every face at a party, and being in a routine that I had down to the hour. Homesickness almost became an understatement because I yearned for comfort and ached to find my niche. I was not sure where I fit into my new world. I knew that I did not want to return to my house in Kansas City, but I wanted to go home. The pursuit of finding the best version of myself at an out-of-state college was the only thing that kept me sane. Looking back, going 247 miles was one of the smartest decisions I have ever made in my 20 years.
It took me two long semesters to figure out that home is not a place. Components of my home resided in my relationships with the people around me. I made the second smartest decision of my two decades by joining a sorority. My best friends are my home now. They are my Christmas mornings, who celebrated the big accomplishments as well as celebrating who I am at face value. I have 176 sisters, bonded by mirrored morals and bags full of the same values. I am grateful for them every single day of my life. Because without them, I would've run back to my house in Kansas City because that was all the home I knew. Home is a feeling, home is where you are endlessly loved, and home lives in your loved ones around you.