I’m in College, I Like Going Home & That’s Okay

It’s a Thursday night, and I finally re-enter my apartment after a long day of classes and meetings. My eyelids drooping, I sigh thinking of the weekend work I’m forcing myself to finish tonight, and then my gaze rests on my suitcase, and I remember my reason for working so hard. I’m going home tomorrow.

On weeks where I know I will be going home that weekend, the fact nestles in the back of my mind, laying dormant until a particularly stressful homework assignment or meeting triggers a reminder of the reprieve soon ahead. Despite the circumstances, I can’t help but smile thinking about hopping on a train and watching Manhattan fade away. About an hour after departure, I will open my front door to be met with a loving family, adorable pets and a community that brings me comfort and peace.

Like many suburban residents, I have always been community-oriented. Growing up, I could always be counted on to show my face at any given town event: homecoming (even though I hate football), the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot (despite being entirely non-athletic) and even the high school musicals and plays. Something about the warmth and energy of these events has made me mark my calendar each and every year, even as I’ve entered college. In fact, since starting school away from home, I’m come to treasure community traditions even more. I’ve realized that my hometown is an integral part of my identity, and not one from which I can easily separate myself.

My time home consistently comforts and rejuvenates me, allowing me to see my problems and stressors from a new vantage point. Obviously, this is not the case for everyone, and I realize that I am very lucky to have the system of support and comfort that I do. I like to think that by frequently traveling back home, I am ensuring that I never take it for granted. I work to savor even the less glamorous parts of my home life—household chores, family health issues—because they have contributed to my strength and success.

Just the thought of going to my favorite bakery and coffee shop, seeing my hometown friends and playing with my pets brings me a sense of peace I can never find on campus, no matter how hard I try. I love the home I’ve created for myself in Morningside Heights, with kind and motivated friends, a beautiful campus and ample career opportunities, but there is no harm in also wanting a physical and mental break. College is a time for independence, definitely, but that independence is not synonymous with cutting ties with a positive and loving home environment. If you like going home, be proud. Be grateful. Be content.