We're Not In Pennsylvania Anymore, Toto.

We're Not In Pennsylvania Anymore, Toto.

The reflection of someone who has moved more than a few times.


I am nineteen years old, and I have still not figured out how to properly respond to the question, "where are you from?" There are simply too many answers to this question, and I don't know which one to go with when prompted. This is one of the main questions you are hit with when you meet someone, so as I meet people at school, I've heard it an abundance of times.

I am from Minnesota Nice, I am from a little sunshine shade of yellow house in New Jersey, a town with a park on the same street as my house in Illinois, a hill filled town in southern California, and a small town in Pennsylvania. I am from, "oh, isn't that where that big mall is?" but I am also from, "I've always wanted to live in California! What's it like?". I am from a lot of places, each place containing a different part of me.

Minnesota holds my younger years. The years of going to the zoo and watching the dolphins for hours on end, and a lot of years I don't have much of a memory of. Minnesota holds a plethora of children's hospital visits to Gilette Children's. That place became almost a second home if homes can terrify you down to the bone, for a lot of my life. Minnesota holds height checks and weight checks and x-rays like you can't believe. Eighteen years of children's hospital visits and x-rays become like a second nature.

Illinois holds my years of elementary school, dealing with mean kids for the first time in my life, but it also holds the time I asked if I could sled out the kitchen window on a particularly snowy day. Don't say I was not an adventurous child. Illinois holds the swim team years of chlorinated everything and going to a Hannah Montana concert in the middle of a two-day swim meet. Illinois holds my first best friend and just how painful it was to leave her.

California holds my years of crutching through open-air hallways in middle school after numerous surgeries. California holds beach camping trips, band concerts, and a neighborhood pool. California holds me coming to the realization that the ocean terrifies me. California holds the first "boyfriend" I had who would carry my backpack and call me after nine o'clock at night. (That was a big deal at the time, trust me.)

Pennsylvania holds my middle school through high school years. As you can imagine, they weren't my favorite. Originally when my parents told seventh grade, Megan, we were moving to Pennsylvania, I lost it a little. How dare they rip us from our oh so steady lives? (Yeah, middle school Megan was dramatic.) High school was better than eighth grade because most things are better than middle school. Pennsylvania holds the year I was a cheerleader, a dark year, but it also holds the time I figured out who I wanted to be. All of these places are so important to me that even thinking about the question, "where are you from?" evokes a tornado inside of my brain.

Technically, right now, I am from Pennsylvania. That's where I moved from when I came to school. People react the same way here as they did at home when I said I was going to school in Iowa. What could possibly be in Iowa, right? Other than corn? I explained that the writing program is one of the best in the country, but that never seemed to ease the furrowed eyebrows and bewildered expressions. The majority of University of Iowa attendees are from the midwest. If you visit Raygun in town, a t-shirt will tell you that Iowa City is Chicago's favorite suburb. Being from Pennsylvania, but being born in the midwest, I sort of understand the "oh, wow"s and "that's pretty far!"s. I promise I'm not on a cheesesteak diet, and I can pronounce water the same way you can. I can't promise, however, that I won't get in an argument defending the Flyers. I tend to get pretty passionate about Philadelphia hockey.

Even after putting my tornado of thoughts into coherent sentences, I most likely still will not be able to answer this question. Where are you from? Well, I could explain it all to you, but I'll probably just say Pennsylvania.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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You Can Still Get Homesick While Having The Time Of Your Life

Not every moment has to be fun and glamorous.


We often look at college life and study abroad and backpacking trips on other people's Instagrams and see all the fun they're having and all the friends they're making. This is especially the case with study abroad, when these people seem to travel to a new place every weekend and live their absolute best lives. As a result, when we embark on these trips ourselves, there is often a disparity between expectation and reality that can majorly affect you both physically and mentally.

It's important to understand that even if you're meeting new people every day and exploring a new country every week and living out your dreams, there will still be days where you feel like you just want to go home to your group of friends and hangout at the local boba shops or sit with your family at home and just watch TV while fighting over the remote. While you're absorbing all these new and wonderful things around you while abroad, your body will yearn for something familiar, comfortable and secure. And that would be your life at home.

You may feel the need to just stay in your apartment for 2 days straight and binge watch YouTube or call every single one of your friends back home just to catch up. Or you may end up revisiting pictures from the past and salivate over the Korean BBQ trips you took back at home and get intense urges to eat food from home. There's absolutely nothing wrong with feeling like this. In fact, a good way to help appease these feelings are to search for the cuisine that you're craving for in your city, and go out of your way to eat it just to get that familiarity back. I have found myself at Asian restaurants and bubble tea shops in Paris more often than I ever was at home, and while others may consider this as a waste of time and that I should be experiencing only French food, it's a really good way to appease those feelings of homesickness. Trust me, the moment you take that first bite of beef noodle soup, you'll feel much, much better.

This isn't to say that you should only stick to the familiar even in a new city. Explore as much as possible and be open to trying new things, but every once in a while, when those feelings of homesickness hit, don't feel bad about buying that boba or starting that 3-hour long video call. After all, you can't have the time of your life if you don't take care of your mental health in the process.

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