When teenagers leave for college, they are excited to get out of their hometown. They think they will find something better — more exciting. They think it will be fun to go to a party where you can finally see a different face, be in a world where their parents aren’t nagging them to clean their room, and being able to come and go when they please without a curfew.

Eventually, Freshman year ends and they’re thinking “How did I make it out?” As summer passes, they start to miss their friends from school, the ongoing parties, and maybe even hanging out with their friends at the dining hall. Students start to sit and rot on their couches, while the summer days drag on thinking, “Is it August yet?”

Before the blink of an eye, teenagers have wished away their hometown. They’ve taken it for granted and forgotten the beauty it once brought to them. They’ve forgotten that the windy road that loops around their house is where they learned to ride a bike. They’ve forgotten that the old park that no one plays on anymore, is where they got their first kiss. They’ve forgotten that the little diner everyone went to, is where they had the most laughs. They’ve forgotten how much fun they had at their high school football games when they cheered so hard they would lose their voice. They’ve forgotten the nights they sat around with their high school friends, talking about how they wished they’ve never leave — how they’d promise these memories would never die out — and they did.

Home is home, no matter what. Home is where your mom tucks you into bed. Home is where your dad plays catch with you in the backyard. Home is where the sunset kisses the trees goodnight. Home is where the waves wash away your worries in the sand. Home is irreplaceable and unforgettable.

Home is a place that keeps you safe, and sound. No matter where you are, and no matter where you go in life — your home will always be there waiting for you. People are going to walk in and out of your life — and that’s OK. There will come a point in time when your life will go through many changes, and that is also OK. At the end of the day, the one place you can always count on to remain the same is your home.

Your hometown is a special place that needs to be cherished. This is the place where your childhood memories will stay forever, and you can look back on them whenever you want. I’m sure you’ve experienced a lot in your hometown; break-ups, sneaking out of your house to party, getting in trouble with your parents — the list can go on forever. It’s refreshing to look back on your past and see how far you’ve grown. Your house is a reminder that you’ve made it this far.

So, before you got to bed tonight, call your parents, and tell them you love them. Text an old friend, and tell them you miss them. Make sure to remember that your home, brought you to where you are now.