Where is Home?

Coming back to campus post February break has me thinking about the idea of home, and what exactly that means to me. Since coming to college, I find myself pondering this concept a bit more than I used to. I’ve come to realize that it is much more difficult to define a “home” than it may seem.

I live in the small town of New Fairfield, Connecticut. This quaint, little town is unknown by many, fitting the typical New England mold. It truly is the ever-so-charming “everyone knows everyone” situation. To me, this is, and forever will be, my home. It’s where my parents grew up and started our family. It’s where my entire immediate family has lived their whole lives. It’s where I met my lifelong friends, with whom I shared some of the best moments of my life. It’s where I feel completely safe and protected by the people and memories around me - the same ones that have shaped me into the person I am today. This is my home. What I have come to realize, however, is that this home, as beautiful and special as it is, may not be the only home that I have come to know. 

Since arriving on campus about a year and a half ago, I worried that I would never come across another place that provided me with the same comfort of my home 5 hours away. I feared the idea of losing the familiarity of my life back in Connecticut. Of losing the comfort of my tiny high school. Of losing my best friends, and forgetting the years that we had spent together. I could hardly fathom the possibility of forming a new life outside of little New Fairfield, CT. What I have come to understand is that our “home” is not always a place, but rather an emotional state. Home is a sense of identity and growth. It is a memory of the past, and a reminder of what our future might look like. Home is a feeling of warmth and of comfort, filled with people who have seen every shape of you. It is where we have laughed, loved, and perhaps shed a tear or two. It’s where we have felt our highest highs just as deeply as our lowest lows. In all honesty, it took quite some time for me to recognize Saint Michael’s College as a space that I might eventually be able to call home. Perhaps part of this was due to a sense of guilt - how could I possibly give this new place the same label as the town where I spent my entire life up to this point? What concerned me the most, however, was a fear that in declaring this new place as my home, I would somehow lose my home 5 hours away. What I now realize, is that we are not subject to just one home in our lives. As we meet new people, see new things, this list will grow. Maybe we will revisit these homes, and maybe we will not. What I am certain of, though, is that they will never leave us. 

Having spent 3 full semesters here in Colchester, Vermont, there is no doubt that I am able to call it one of my homes. In many ways, I see my New Fairfield home here on our little campus. I find comfort in the familiar faces that I pass each day to class. I feel constantly supported and loved by my beautiful roommates each and every moment. I have found a place where I see myself growing and branching out. I’ve truly found another place to call home. 

    Trying to fully grasp the idea of home can be very difficult, especially in our college years. Every time I find myself struggling with this concept, I feel that it’s important to remember how incredibly lucky I am to be in this situation. I’m so grateful to have found a community that provides me with a world of opportunity, one that my home could not. And I am beyond blessed to have a beautiful home that makes coming back to school so bitter-sweet. So wherever - or whoever - home is to you, hold on to it! Let it serve as a reminder of where you came from, and all the possible places you might be going!