I have been home for winter break for a couple of weeks now. I forgot how different my small town in Frederick County, Maryland is from College Park. While I do love both of my homes, I am starting to miss being on campus. I loved growing up where I did. Some of my best memories are at different places in my small town of Mount Airy. This time off has also been a time to reflect and relive some of my favorite parts of being at home.

My dad always told me that I was very privileged to grow up where I did. There were good schools and kind people. Everything I need, including my school, is just a 10-minute drive away. I could drive an hour to go to either DC or Baltimore. There was always a ton to do, and some event is going on. There are events like chili cook-offs, carnivals, parades and fireworks.

He told me that even though Mt. Airy was such a great community, I was very sheltered from what other places in our state, our country, are like. I never noticed this until I started at UMD. I started talking my new friends about where they are from and what their towns are like. My town always seemed like it was different than what other people experienced. This is of course just an assumption because I never lived in their towns, and also I think very highly of where I am from.

Anyways, let's get back on track. There are things I love about being home and things that I don't love. One of the biggest things is having to make my own food. It was so nice to walk to a dining hall and eat whatever I want any time of the day. Now, I have to heat something up or throw something together when I want to eat during the day.

The sheer convenience of college is something that is unlike anything at home. I can walk anywhere I need to go, and my friends are always there to hang out. This is also because of the way that the college town is set up, but I am all for it.

However, at home, I can go over to a friend's house and just walk right in. Their parents know me, and it is like walking into my own home. I am just as excited to see my friend's families as I am to see them. Wherever I go, I see someone that I know, and it is like a mini-reunion.

The car rides I go on with my friends are some of the most special parts of going places. We have choreographed dances and songs that we always have to listen to. During these times, it is like we never left each other and everything is just how it was before college. Even just driving around the backroads turns into a party.

Going out to eat has always been something that we enjoy doing. One of our favorite things to do (besides singing in the car) is to make friends with our waiter or waitress. It is pretty easy for us to do because we are more outgoing together than we are apart.

Most of these things we do are fun just because of the people I am with. We are definitely a motley crew. All of us have different passions and views on the world, but we still come together are like one big family.

I love college, my second home, and my new friends; but nothing will be able to replace my Mount Airy. I have people here that I care about and would do anything for. They have helped to shape me into who I am, and I am forever grateful for this town and my people.