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Finding Home Away from Home: A College Student’s Guide to Comfort and Connection

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Stevens chapter.

College life is a thrilling adventure filled with new experiences, challenges, and opportunities for personal growth. However, navigating this journey can sometimes leave us students feeling homesick or out of place. I know for me as a freshman, it took me quite a bit of time to find myself and also a way to make Stevens feel like home. In this blog post, we’ll explore creative and fun ways I have found to help me to find my own “home away from home” while at college. As a junior here on campus it took some time, but now I genuinely couldn’t imagine my life any other way.

Dorm Decor: Transform Your Space

Your dorm room is your sanctuary, so why not make it feel like home? Personalize your space with items that reflect your personality, such as photos, posters, and cozy blankets. Bring in elements that remind you of home, like scented candles or a favorite childhood stuffed animal. For me, I really like to add pictures. I have a collage of photos (now mainly of college friends). When I first came here it was all of my home friends, and while I love them all, throughout the years this collage has been a visual representation of the growth in my relationships. It is crucial to create a welcoming atmosphere where you can relax and recharge.

Join Clubs and Organizations: Build a Supportive Community

College campuses are stacked with diverse clubs and organizations. Whether it’s a sorority, sports team, a cultural club, or a hobby group, joining one can provide a sense of belonging. Attend meetings, participate in events, and make friends with shared interests. Finding like-minded individuals can make your college experience feel more like a homecoming. For me, I joined a Panhellenic sorority my freshman year, and truly that is when Stevens felt like home. In my time in my sorority, I have served on the Executive Council, twice, first as the VP of Membership Recruitment and currently I am the Chapter President. Within my own sisterhood I have made true friendships, but also in the other organizations is where I found my hype girls forever.

Explore Your Surroundings: Become a Hoboken Explorer

Take the time to explore the town or city where your college is located. Discover hidden gems, local eateries, and parks. Familiarize yourself with the community, and you’ll start to feel a sense of belonging. Hoboken is such a unique place to go to school. The fact that we get to call this place home for a mere four years is crazy. Everytime my friends visit from home they are envious of me that this is where I get to live. Find your favorite coffee shop, bookstore, or park – these spots can become your go-to places when you need a break from campus life.

Embrace Dorm Dinners: Bonding Over Food

One way to create a sense of home is through shared meals. Organize potluck dinners with your roommates or friends, where each person contributes a dish. This not only fosters a sense of community but also allows you to experience different cuisines. Me and my roommate, Nicole, like to each make a side for dinner and then we have a shared meal that is bringing a

sense of our appetite to each other (and as a picky girl, this has helped me a lot). Cooking together can be a fun and rewarding activity that brings people closer.

Establish Traditions: Chipotle Sunday

In my group of friends, we’ve established a special tradition known as “Chipotle Sunday.” Every week, we gather at our favorite Chipotle (229 Wash <3) spot to enjoy a delicious meal together. My girls and I were freshmen year neighbors (shoutout CPH) and now as we have grown up as juniors we still hold true to this tradition. It's a time to relax, catch up on each other's lives, and reset for the upcoming week. When I graduate there will be a lot of memories I created at Stevens that I will remember forever, but Chipotle Sunday’s will take first place. Whether it is down pouring, snowing, or a beautiful day, each Sunday we make our way to Chipotle, get our bowls, eat and debrief the weekend, talk about our upcoming weeks, and just know that we will always find time for each other despite our crazy lives. Establishing your own traditions, whether it's a weekly meal or a regular game night, can provide a sense of continuity and comfort.

College life can be both exciting and challenging, but with a little effort and creativity, you can find a home away from home. Personalize your space, build a supportive community, explore your surroundings, bond over food, and establish traditions that bring you joy. Remember, college is not just about academic growth – it’s also about finding your place in the world and creating lasting connections. So go ahead, make your college experience uniquely yours, and let the journey unfold with a sense of belonging and familiarity.

Sarah Pasqualetto is a junior at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken New Jersey. Her major is Chemical Engineering, with a masters in Engineering Management. Her personal interests include reading, going on walks by the pier, and yoga. In her free time she goes to the beach, tutors, and loves to go on TikTok.