Welcome to life away from home.
For many of us, university is our first experience living on our own, apart from maybe a few weeks of summer camp here and there.
Even if you’re still living with your parents, you’re going to be spending a lot of time around campus and away from the life that you’ve led so far.
We’re caught in an in-between. We don’t truly belong in our university towns, but we don’t really belong in our old cities either.
At times like these in our lives, it’s more important than ever to find our own sense of home.
Maybe home is a physical place. It could be your parents’ house or your new apartment, but chances are, for a lot of us, it’s something else entirely.
I’m a firm believer in the old cliche that “home is where the heart is.” Home is where you feel safe, secure, loved and comfortable.
It’s a happy place that belongs to you — whether you can physically touch it at the end of the day or not.
Home could be a place you’ve never been and dream about going to. That’ll keep you going towards a goal.
I have a friend who has wanted to go to Paris her entire life. She finally got to go this summer as a graduation gift. She got there because she never gave up on her goals and achieved more than her “home” on the way to success.
Maybe Paris isn’t even her home, but it’s a piece of her home because it makes up part of who she is as a person.
And home is personal. It’s not something we have to share or something that usually comes up in casual conversation.
Finding where we really belong isn’t like it is in Disney’s Hercules where you make a journey and home is waiting for you at the end.
Who we are is made up of pieces of places we’ve been and things that we love.
Of course, with requirements like that, home doesn’t have to be a tangible place at all.
Home could be a stage play or a painting. It could be a good book or a favourite movie.
The Harry Potter franchise is the one that immediately comes to mind for me. It’s shaped who I am, and reading it is like coming home at the end of a rough day.
Besides, as J.K. Rowling said, “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
A common thread I’ve seen in other people’s “home” fiction works are the aspects of childhood and teenage-hood — things that made an impact on us at an impressionable age and we carry with us like an old friend as we grow into new adventures.
Whether that’s Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King or even something like Catcher in the Rye, if it’s part of you, it’s home.
Crack yours open when you’re missing what you know and you can be come anywhere you go.
Your home could also be found in your school after all. With any hope, you picked your major because it’s something that you enjoy and it’s something that you are passionate about.
If you’re a history student, you can always read about your favourite time and work your essays to match those. Journalism students can throw themselves into the story and work on hitting hot deadlines.
Whatever you’re doing, I hope that you can make part of that your home. You’re going to be spending at least 4 years of your life studying it intensively. I hope that doesn’t turn into a chore.
If you have a stable family, they could be part of your home as well. No matter how far they are away physically, they can be with you with the help of modern technology.
If you’re missing them, call them. Make time and actually talk to them. No matter how busy you get, if it’s a priority, it’ll get done.
I’m sure that you’re probably part of your family’s home as well and connecting those is something that can make the university experience easier on all of you.
And even if you don’t get along with your family, friends can be home too. If they love you, support you and help shape who you are, you can find home in them.
All in all, you make your home. Home is where you belong and where you are comfortable.
Even if your new apartment or city doesn’t do it for you, you don’t always have to run back to your parents’ house when you’re feeling homesick.
Remember who you are and take that for what it is. Home is within yourself, you just have to let it out.