Home Isn't Just a Place--It's People, Too

Home Isn't Just a Place--It's People, Too

I've come to see home isn't just where I grew up but those I've met along the way
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The idea of home is a bizarre concept to me. I always thought that home was a place that you went to for school break or returned to when you need Mom to do your laundry or make you actual food. But when I went to school I found myself confused by what I thought home was. I met people I felt I belonged to utterly, completely, fully. It confused me and concerned me that I felt this way with multiple people and places. It happened again when I studied abroad and I felt a longing down in my soul and grief that I didn't know when I would return to cities such as London and Berlin again.

I always believed that home was the place I grew up and no more. I thought it was the place I had grown up and spent most of my life. But I've realized over the past year that home is not just that at all.

Home is my University where I've had heartbreaks and the best nights of my life. It is where I met my sorority sisters who changed my life for the better. I've met my best friends, my suite mates who I wouldn't trade for the world. With these people I feel understood completely and fully. They are the people I place my trust in and experience all of the ups and downs of life with. From drunken nights to watching Vine compilations, I wouldn't change anything that we've experienced together as friends and sisters.

Home is also the people I've met at school and on my travels. It's the people who I met at the bar in Paris or spent four months getting to know as I studied abroad. They all contribute to my memories and to who I am today.

That's what I think another version of home can be. I think home can even be the people you've known for only a night yet they change your life forever even in the most minuscule ways. They are the people you hold in your heart and you smile about even years after you've parted ways.

In that, I'm grateful for all of them. The passing strangers I've met on my travels and the girls who will one day be my bridesmaids. You are all my home; ever changing in life but always still in my heart.

Cover Image Credit: linkedin

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To My Ex Best Friend

Sometimes growing up means growing apart.
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Dear ex best friend,

I’d always heard that people drift as they get older; I never thought it would happen to us. That’s the funny thing about authentic friendship I guess: you always expect it to be permanent. We were the type of friends who never got tired of each other—we’d see each other all day in school and then go home and talk for ages.

You’d bike the mile or so from your house just to hang out on my porch for a couple of hours or we’d meet up just to walk aimlessly around the neighborhood. Our inside jokes made absolutely no sense to anyone else.

We told each other everything; sometimes I swore you knew me better than I did. You’ve seen me at my best…and at my worst. You helped me through some of the toughest years of my life; we always pushed each other to try a little bit harder.

We just got each other.

Flash forward a few years and things got…complicated. It’s difficult to pinpoint when it started or why, but suddenly we weren’t talking as much. We both made new friends, developed new interests…you started dating. Having a guy for my best friend had never been an issue before; it was strange adjusting to you having another girl in your life. Eventually, I started ‘talking’ to someone else too (god, I hate that term). I’ll admit I didn’t handle it super well, but neither did you; jealousy had reared her ugly head and shredded the last remaining fibers of our relationship.

It wasn’t long before I became acutely aware of the fact that I had lost you; gone were our monthly movie trips and late-night chats. Here to stay were thoughts of regret and awkward encounters in the hallway at school.

We’re different people now; I don’t know what you’re doing every day or what manuscript you’re currently writing or if your favorite color is still red.

I do know that you’re a truly, deeply, genuinely good person. I know that you’ve never tried to be anyone other than yourself and that you can always be counted on to crack a joke when the going gets tough. I know that you taught me more about friendship in a few years than anyone else has all my life.

I don’t regret being your friend. To this day, you are still the most supportive and understanding person I’ve ever met. I still have all the handwritten notes you gave me stowed away in my room at home. I like knowing I can take them out and reread them--that our friendship still exists out there in the universe somewhere.

And who knows? Maybe we’ll reconnect in the future. I like to think that one day when we’re older we’ll sit down on that old porch swing and tell each other about all the exciting things that have happened in our lives.

And if we don’t? I hope you’re happy, really. Just because our friendship didn’t last forever doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth anything.

Much love and gratitude,

Your ex best friend

Cover Image Credit: The Chaotic Soul

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10 Lessons My College Friends Have Taught Me

It's only February, but these friendships are so strong and will last a lifetime
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One aspect of college that I was the most excited for was to meet a lot of new people. Yes, coming from a suburb of Chicago, I knew and knew of many people before arriving in the cornfields. Some claimed that going to the University of Illinois was “repeating high school”, and I will not lie that the thought did cross my mind when I decided to come here. Want to know the truth about that?

All False. Well, it definitely is what you make of it!

Coming to Illinois is all about what you make it. Yes, a lot of people from my high school came here, 157 being the exact number, but they are not the only people whom I spend time with. I knew that I wanted to branch out when I got to college, and I am confident in the fact that I did just that.

The friends I have made here have actually changed my life, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest. These are some of the most genuine people, and they really do care about the well-being of their friends.

Being so close with people of all different ages has never been a thing for me, but now I am so happy that it is. College introduces you to so many new people, many of which I know will be my close friends for life.

Here are 10 things my friends have taught me, and I’m forever grateful they did…

1. It’s okay not to be okay


In my opinion, throughout high school, it was somewhat of a stigma that if you were struggling, you kept that information to yourself. No one was very willing to be open with one another because if there was an issue, someone probably had it worse than you.

How irrational.

After coming to school, the support system got immensely better. My friends here care about one another so much, and only want the best for everyone. You have an issue? Anyone would be more than happy to help. That’s true friendship if I’ve ever seen it.

2. We are your second family

Family loves you despite your flaws. The friends I have made have 100% proven that regardless of what I have going on in my life, they will always love me and be there for me. And vice versa: I will always love and be there for them. Sometimes just simply after having a good talk with a friend, everything seems okay. I think of my close friends here as my second family, and I love them just as much as I do my parents and brothers.

3. Our door is always open

It is so easy to walk up or down a flight of stairs and swing open to door to my friend’s room (you know who you are!). Most of the time a knock isn’t even necessary, just walking in will suffice. I can guarantee a good laugh and good food when I am in my friends’ rooms. In the midst of endless studying and stress, it is amazing to know that there is a place where the vibes are chill, and everyone wants to have a good time.

4. 2:00 AM is the best time to talk

During the day everyone is in class or at the library or working out.

All great and necessary things.

However, they do take away from the amount of time that you get to talk and hang with friends, which I believe is also important in order to have a balanced college life. That being said, staying up late to talk with friends is something that I actually make time for. The TV lounge is my home for the endless facetimes and phone calls (you also know who you are haha).

5. Eating out/spending money is okay and sometimes 100% necessary

I am definitely not the first to say that my dorm food is just not the greatest, but no one would really expect it to be anyways. Jimmy Johns is always a go to considering it takes about four minutes to get to the dorm on a good day. In desperate times, I can count of my friends to feel the same way about the dorm food and go get a real meal. Thank you so much, honestly. Thank you especially for the endless sushi dates, they are much appreciated.

6. Some of the best friendships aren’t expected

I would say one of my best friendships to this day is the result of me turning around in a swarm of people, in full blown tears, on bid day back in September. I was sweaty from running in the heat and crying tears of joy. We introduced ourselves and now we are still such close friends. This friendship, along with many others I have made, were so unexpected, yet so beyond easy…and that is exactly how it should be! I have never been around people who were so easy to connect with and just genuinely nice (thanks Greek life I owe you!).

7. Laugh at yourself and embrace your mistakes

Growing up, I was always so embarrassed whenever I would mess something up or when I was a tad clumsy. Many years later, I have finally found people who will laugh when I fall, but also be there to pick me back up. Once you learn to laugh at yourself, you can really do anything because there is nothing to be embarrassed about! Especially when your laughable moments are caught on video by your best friends, then there is really no going back.

8. Distance means nothing

It does not matter how far or close I live to these people, the friendships will continue to stay strong. Even if most of my friends live at most 30 minutes away from my home town, not seeing them every day on campus is definitely hard. Despite the extended breaks when we are not together, the friendships see no hardships. Hanging out at home is definitely an option, and one that 100% has been utilized because winter break is just too long. Don’t even get me started on summer break...

I’m not ready in the slightest. :(

9. Friend hugs are the best hugs

I love a good hug, it somehow temporarily cures whatever is wrong. Just one hug, or two or five, from a best friend is such a comforting feeling. Yes, of course, a hug from your significant other is always a win, but friends will be there for the long run always. Thank you for the hugs during the bad times, but also the good times because I really just like hugs.

10. Friendship isn’t about how long you’ve known each other

Of course, the friends who you have known basically since birth and are still going strong, those are really important friendships that are meaningful and have lots of history. However, college does change people in many ways. I would say that some of my best friends now are people who I met back in August/September. Although it’s been about six months, I cannot imagine my life without these friends in it.

The people who I have met at Illinois have truly changed my life, and I will be forever grateful for them. Thank you for the life lessons and the amazing memories, and I can’t wait to learn/create more!

Cover Image Credit: Marlee Nickow

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