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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

Home. This term, which once held a constant definition in my life, has become a concept so variable that I don’t completely feel it anywhere. Since coming to college, I’ve discovered an incredibly valuable lesson: home is so much more than just one place or feeling.

My perception of home first shifted when I returned to my hometown for Thanksgiving break. My college life seems like a constant rush from one thing to the next, so returning to the simplicity of my hometown after adapting to this new mindset was an odd experience. Seeing cornfields stretch into the horizon for miles on end was a shocking contrast to the infrastructure I’d become accustomed to seeing stacked outside my bedroom window. It made me realize how my perception of home had shifted, but also I didn’t realize the breath of fresh air that getting out of the college bubble could be until I remembered how peaceful being at home was. I came to admire things from my hometown that I forgot I loved so much: having my car, eating at my favorite local restaurants, being around my family and friends, just to name a few. My hometown became a place of comfort and rest, and while I was there it almost felt like I’d never left. Almost. Now, I became taken aback by the difference in the simplest of things which once seemed so commonplace to me, reminding me that I was not as familiar with this perception of “home” as I once was now that I had a second home to compare it to. Everything in my hometown seemed to stay the same even though I’d changed so much and all of a sudden, this home was not fully mine anymore.

Coming back to college after an experience like that was also strange. Getting thrown back into the campus environment was abrupt, but I quickly fell back into the college lifestyle, again growing accustomed to this alternative version of home. Still, as a result of now identifying multiple places as my home, I felt less grounded in its definition than I once had. Home was no longer one location with one meaning, it was different places with different perspectives. Though it is strange to no longer have a singular place to call home, I noticed how my life has felt more enriched. Knowing that I’d been able to live in different places and fall in love with various things that those locations had to offer was a very gratifying thing. Home was now something I identified as a feeling that I could connect with, regardless of the location I was in. To realize how it was so much deeper than just a physical spot, rather memories, experiences, context, and habits I’d grown accustomed to throughout a spectrum of places, was a really valuable thing to learn.