Home is a Lot Closer Than You Think

Home Is Not A Place

No matter how far you go, home is a lot closer than you think.

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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.

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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To The Person Feeling Like They're Losing Their Hometown Friends

Don't fret to much, if they are truly your best friends, you aren't gonna lose them.

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When you grow up and leave home to go to college or whatever your plans are after high school, you and your hometown best friends promise to make time for each other. You promise to always get together over breaks and to visit each other if you aren't going to the same schools or living in the same town.

But you realize over time that maybe those promises aren't gonna be kept.

Life gets complicated. School starts to become harder and harder, there are extracurriculars and work, and trying to figure out the rest of your lives; things start to get in the way. Visiting starts to happen less and less, getting together over breaks gets more complicated, you try to stay in contact but the hours in the day seem to get shorter and shorter. There are too many things that you have to accomplish in one day that it's difficult to know if you can even get together.

You start to ask yourself "Am I losing my closest friends?"

And the answer to that question is no, your lives are changing and things are starting to become real but they will always be there. Just because you don't talk all the time or you go a few months without seeing each other, they are still your friends. They will always care and always be there. Don't stress about it too much, they are always gonna be there, it's just that your lives are pulling all of you in different directions and it can get hard to keep up with everyone because you are all so busy.

You are growing up but you're not necessarily growing apart!

If they are truly your best friends they will always be there, and you there for them. As time goes on, your lives will continue to change but you are always gonna be friends. Just know that they are there when you need them, and when you do get to see each other, it's like nothing has changed and you pick up right where you left off. Your friendship is important to all of you. Don't let a little bit of silence or a busy life cause problems. You haven't lost them, trust me, you all are just figuring out life. Don't take it personally when you don't talk for a while.

"Amigas, Cheetahs, Friends for life" — Cheetah Girls

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