So there you sit, about a month into the semester, ignoring the homework due tomorrow and the test you have Thursday. In the silence, you lay in bed thinking about how much you have to do and how stressed you are, yet you remain there, doing nothing. Your mind is going wild with nostalgic thoughts of the place you call home. You realize, whether you'll willingly admit it or not, that you miss it. Before you call your mom asking if there's any reason you shouldn't come home this upcoming weekend, your brain sorts through the things (in no particular order) that are missing from your college life:
- Your dog. Let's be real, your dog (or cat, if you're into that sort of thing) holds your heart. It's debatably the most important thing in your life. You miss those slimy kisses and furry cuddles. You miss the way your dog's ears perk up when you yell "treat!"
- Your bed. Does this even need explanation?
- Your full refrigerator. Your fridge at school has a carton of expired milk, some leftovers that you stole from the dining hall and maybe some ketchup. What does your fridge at home have? Fully paid for, all-you-can-eat deli meat, sweet tea, fresh fruit, your favorite home-cooked meal's leftovers, eggs and basically every other nutritional/delicious gift to mankind. Did I mention you didn't have to buy it?
- Your favorite local restaurant(s). I personally come from a town with over 20 authentic Mexican restaurants. Going to college in a town where the 'best Mexican restaurant' is equivalent to Taco Bell is disappointing. All I want is my favorite cheese dip from home, just as all college kids want something from their favorite restaurants that are unique to their hometown.
- The roads you know like the back of your hand. Have you ever gotten to a frequent destination and realized that you had zoned out for most of the drive there? If so, you've probably also wondered how you didn't wreck and if your mom would think it was funny. First: she won't, so don't tell her. Second: you didn't die because you know every crack, every curve, and every speed trap of the roads in your hometown. Roads at school are different and new, and the cops are everywhere. Another thing to remember, college kids can't drive. Driving at home is much less stressful.
- All of the adults that love you (and buy your meals on occasion). Your small group leaders, mentors, coaches and sometimes your bosses care about you. They wonder how your semester is going and when you'll come home and visit them. You can go ahead and admit that you miss them too. You probably also miss the free food you get when they say, "let's meet for lunch and catch up!"
- Senior year. You were on top, and now you're right back at the bottom of the food chain. College knocked you right off your high-horse. You can't slack off the way you did, you can't expect easy assignments like you did, you don't get graduation gifts at the end of every year, and you don't get to be starters on the field or soloists in the performance (without earning it) anymore. Sorry, it sucks.
- Similarly, you miss PARTS of your high school career. Not so much the stupid drama and SAT practice, but you definitely miss your softball team. You definitely miss your favorite teacher(s). You definitely miss the Friday-night football with your sub-par football team.
- The gym/studio/field wherever your hobby took place. That place was your escape and your safe haven, and it's been entirely too long since you've been there. You miss the memories you made there, and the people that you made those memories with.
- Quiet nights. Whether you're in the dorms, other on-campus housing, off-campus student housing or just any apartment complex, you know for a fact that quiet nights are a rarity. Car horns, parties next door, neighbors with loud TV's and music, elephants that live above you and just overall poorly-insulated structures interfere with your ability to get a good night's rest. In the privacy of your own home, the only sounds you hear are leaves blowing in the wind and cicadas making their night-time noises. It's pretty great.
- A full phone battery. It's amazing how much more phone activity occurs when you're at school. You're constantly refreshing social media, checking emails, texting seemingly every person you know. When everyone knows you're home, though, they don't text you as much. They know you can't hang out/do them any favors because you're not close. When you're home, or at least when I'm home, I sometimes forget about social media and emails. So, if you forget your phone charger as often as I do, don't worry! You're phone probably won't die anytime soon.
- A clean house. Your dorm or apartment may be clean, but it was your responsibility to clean it. Remember how nice it was to come home after school and walk across vacuumed carpet? Remember when you washed your hands in the kitchen sink and didn't have to work around dirty dishes? It was nice, wasn't it?
- Paid utilities. Similar to the previous point, this is another responsibility that doesn't apply to your home-life. At school, showers are short (either because of your water bill or because of the lack of hot water), lights are dim and the indoor temperature is a little uncomfortable. At home, though, showers are long and warm, lights stay on and the air conditioner makes you cold. The best part? It doesn't all come out of your paycheck.
- Your family. The ones that pay for the expensive utilities, the ones that clean the house, the ones that gave you the opportunity to have the high school career and the hobbies that you had, the ones that stock the fridge and the ones that bought your dog. Don't you just love them? They're the best thing that ever happened to you. The reality of "home" is that it's wherever they are.
If you haven't already done it, pick up the phone and plan a trip home. Your family will thank you for it, and you'll thank yourself for it.