As of this moment, I’ve seen my family twice, and it’s just about a month into the semester. I actually hung out with them the weekend right after I moved into my dorm, since they had booked flights in for Labor Day weekend. I then flew home three weeks later, to celebrate my little brother’s third birthday. But it was also because I really missed my family.

Going into college, I had read through a list of things not to do while at school. One of them included visiting home for no reason, other than missing home. The point of this rule is just so first-years can actually focus on settling into college and work on becoming independent individuals, separated from the comfort of home-cooked meals and hand-holding from our parentals.

Although I can understand why it’s easier to just go through the entire semester without visiting home, at least until Thanksgiving or winter break, I can’t say that it should be a requirement for everyone. I know that for me, going home was a good break from the anxiety I was feeling throughout the week as a result of midterms, and just being on campus in general. I remember texting my mom during my gap, expressing how uneasy I was feeling, and her reply very near brought me to tears: “I’m proud of you. You’re doing good. 2 more days, dear...” It was nice to know she was still rooting for me back home. You never realize what you have until it’s gone; or in this case, 400 miles away. I felt such a wave of relief when I finally came home to my loving parents.

Also, if you’re a proud pet owner like me, you can understand the pain of not being able to bring your best friend to college. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of opening the front door to my dog running up to me, barking in excitement (and resentment for being left behind). When I’m at school, the void of not having my dog is only partially filled by older students who pass by on their morning dog walks. Every time I saw a dog, I would lament to its owner: “I wish I could have brought my dog.”

I think it’s okay for you to want to come home every once in awhile, even if it’s just the weekend. You’re familiar with your surroundings; you know exactly what ice cream shop sells the best mint chocolate chip, and you know which hiking trails are nearby without having to use Google Maps or Yelp. You get to shower for as long as you’d like, with great water pressure, AND without slippers on. You get to be around your siblings, who are always doing the funniest things, be it a clever kind of funny or straight-up ridiculousness. And home-cooked meals? Yum.

If you had asked me a month or two ago, I would have probably laughed at the idea of flying home earlier than Thanksgiving. I was the girl who couldn’t wait to live it up in a new city, away from responsibilities and on my way to achieving my long-awaited independence. But I’ve realized that it’s absolutely normal to not always want to be out late, partying the weekend away. Going home when you’re in college is kind of like a vacation, as weird as that sounds.