Everyone has heard the term "home away from home." Whether you've moved, stayed put, lived in five different houses, or traveled for long periods of time, you can understand what it feels like to have a human need to have a sense of home.
I've been rooted down in one place my whole life: the same house, the same hometown, the same general area for eighteen years. I've always known what it feels like to have a sense of home. However, finding a place to fit in inside my sense of home has never been so easy for me.
Although I've lived in the same town and walked the same streets for my whole life; I've been in and out of different groups of people; switching schools and churches and never being around long enough to really be present.
And it has been hard for me. While my sense of having a home was constant, my sense of feeling at home was not.
So the idea of having to transition to college was difficult. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to find my sense of fitting in; my confidence in an unfamiliar place; my "home away from home." But I've realized something.
A home is just a place to live; a place to stay. When you're on vacation and out exploring or going to the beach, you might say "I'm ready to go back home," which probably just means your hotel room. Home can be your house, or a dorm room, maybe an apartment complex, maybe even someone else's residence.
When you say, "I want to go home," you likely are talking about a physical place; a legitimate building. But if you consider what it means to feel at home; the issue is a whole different story.
We as humans are driven to what is familiar, and when we encounter something that is not, we find ourselves feeling lost. We want to feel at home. We need to feel at home.
Because anyone can live anywhere. I can live in my childhood home; I can live in a dorm room; I can live in my friend's basement.
When I had move in day for college; I was able to set up my dorm all nice and comfy and homey, with my pillows and blankets and coffee maker. But setting up an intangible sense of home; not so easy.
But when you're in college, you aren't there alone. Sure, your family may be miles away, but you are surrounded by people who you will absolutely fall in love with and who will care about your well being. And as will every single other, because when you look into their eyes you can see behind the mask of confidence and see an individual who is in the same boat as you are.
And seeing people as they relate to you is the most comforting thing in the world; because other people let you know that you're not alone, that you have a place to feel at home.
So whenever you find yourself in uncharted territory, stop a minute and look around. Take time to explore. Take time to meet new people, because chances are they have a least something in common with you. Take time to search for the people that will give you a home away from home.