Growing up, I had a moleskin notebook with “Dream Journal” written in the top left corner. In the book, I had lists of universities and the tuition cost with my major and minor listed below it. I had colleges in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee on the list. My dreams were big and my hopes were high. But goals and dreams change and I learned that I needed to stay local. Knowing that I needed to stay local, upset me, but it did not stop me. Some family friends encouraged me to look into Murray State. Once I did, I learned that it is within the price range that I needed, it included in-state tuition for my county AND it was two hours away. PERFECT! Far, but not too far from home AND my family could afford me going there.
Leading up to moving into Murray State, I was psyched out of my mind. I loved being in Murray when I visited and I didn’t think that I would ever want to leave. That statement rang true until recently. I have a job in Murray and I work nearly every day as all of the student workers do. My job is the perfect college student job: a desk job, I can work on homework, on-campus and I work with many great people. Although I am extremely grateful for my job, it can make it difficult to go home for a weekend. I had no problem with that for a while. I knew I needed to work, so I worked. I didn’t mind not going home because I love Murray. It is my home away from home.
It wasn’t until recently that I had started to really miss home. I missed my family, my dog and my best friends. I missed the home-cooked meals (as every college student does), I missed the comfort of my own bed, I missed Target, and I missed the comfort of being in a town where I grew up. I was surprised with myself when I began to miss the small town of Newburgh. I had been so excited to leave, so why do I miss it now?
Being away from Newburgh has brought me a whole new appreciation for it. Coming back to Murray after Thanksgiving break was really hard. I did not want to leave and I especially did not want to come back and start preparing for finals. I just wanted to stay home with my dog, in my bed and be with my friends and family. Maybe it was because it was my first trip home since the beginning of October or maybe I just wanted to stay at home forever.
I have always told myself that if I were to go to college away from Newburgh or Evansville, I wouldn’t transfer back home after my freshman year. Sometimes I think to myself, maybe I just need to see how I do next semester.. or Does everyone feel this way? or maybe I just need a longer break. I have heard from a few people that they’re in the same boat. I have realized that maybe it was a good thing that I never ended up going to school in Colorado or Michigan and that my parents were right about living only a few hours away would be better off.
I had planned on saying this in a speech in my transition class, but when I got to the part of how I miss my family, my voice got shaky and my eyes were beginning to get teary. I couldn’t finish it, so I sat down. It was a super embarrassing moment, so I decided to redeem myself and turn it into an article. I wanted to show what it’s like being away from somewhere that you’ve always wanted to get away from and how you begin to appreciate it more when you’re gone for a while.
If you are away from your hometown and feeling a little homesick, you’re not alone. As crazy and chaotic as Evansville and Newburgh can be, I miss it. I have begun to appreciate things there much, much more within the last few months. I am grateful for my home away from home, but I miss my real home.