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Holidays, Hugs, and Homesickness: A Reflection on this Semester

This semester has far and away been the most academically challenging period of my life. As I write this, I have a dozen final assignments swimming in the back of my mind, taking up space and making it hard to find time to breathe. I thought Zoom University was tough, and it was, but the return to normalcy (while wonderful) coupled with my senior year course load has made this fall more difficult than I care to admit. 

When I look back on the last few months, I see a girl who is happier than she’s been in a long time. In the realm of health and personal life, things couldn’t have gone better for me: my anxiety is finally under control, I have a wonderful boyfriend and family, I’ve made new friends and I’ve raised the cutest puppy in the world. 

That being said, times are still tough for me, with the main culprit being this mental plague: homesickness. When I came to Boston, I instantly fell in love with the city. It’s the place that raised me from a shy high schooler to a confident young woman, and I will always love BU, and Boston as a whole, for its love, care and adventure. 

Despite all of that, it’s impossibly far from my true home: my family. It wasn’t until I brought my puppy to the Northeast this summer that the distance of those 2,054 miles between Boston and my hometown really sank in; gone were the days of hopping on a plane for Thanksgiving or planning long weekends to see my siblings. Now that I had a whole new life to take care of, going home for any short period of time became a moot point. 

This distance, coupled with COVID, has made me more homesick than I’ve ever felt before, and that’s why the holidays are more important to me than ever this year. Not only will they give me a chance to go home, but they present an opportunity to think about my next steps. When I graduate in May, where will I go? I can’t say anything for sure yet, but I’m growing more and more confident in the thought of heading somewhere closer to home. 

This Christmas will be the first time my whole family has been together since Christmas 2019, mere months before the beginning of the pandemic. When I think about the fact that it’s been two whole years since I was able to hug my brother and sister at the same time, call across the house to everyone simultaneously or just see my family laughing together around the dinner table, I can’t help but cry because what if I never get to do that again?

Homesickness is a topic that I’ve shied away from for far too long. When I came to college, I was excited, scared, and brave … and I was also longing for home. Sometimes, it’s easier to act like everything is okay, like you love your new city more than your hometown, or like you don’t miss your friends and family because you’re meeting all new people. I know for a fact that I never admitted homesickness before out of a sense of not wanting to worry the people I loved and because I had a perception of anywhere being better than my hometown. But that’s no way to live, and it’s no way to deal with emotions. I’m proud to say that I’ve grown, and I can confidently say that, in the long run, there’s no place like home. 

This holiday season will be more than a time for simple celebration — it will be a time to rekindle relationships, have sibling bake-off competitions and remember one of the most important parts of life: that home is where the heart is.

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Amille is a senior at Boston University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English. Her passions include travel, cooking, and creative writing; when she isn't testing new recipes and working on her first novel, she's spending time with pets and making memories with family.
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