I am a chronic “go-homer” in college, and that’s okay.
As a senior, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on what my last four years have looked like while being away at college. And so far, my biggest takeaway is that no two people’s experiences are the same.
Although these years have been filled with festive football games, fostering friendships, and fun nights out, I can’t deny that many of these experiences were overshadowed by feelings of intense homesickness.
I feel like I’m supposed to be enjoying the “college experience” that I am constantly sold, so being homesick can sometimes feel like I’m doing something wrong or missing out on a piece. But I’m here to say, it’s OKAY to be homesick in college.
I am grateful for everything that college provides for me in terms of education, friendships, and life experiences. However, I’ve also come to terms with college not always being the best physical environment for me.
When I go home and see my family and friends, I just let out this sigh of relief and release of anxiety that I can’t seem to shake while at school. I love spending weekends hanging out with my home friends, being around family, shopping at my local grocery store, or driving down those familiar roads. School feels stressful, school feels fast-paced, school feels lonely. Home feels safe, home feels warm, home feels comforting.
Before I accepted this reality, I struggled for years with the fact that nothing at home could be replicated at school. Not my friend group from home, not my family, not even the feeling of my home. I believe that this is a real feeling that many college students experience but don’t talk about because of the stigma associated with going home constantly.
Despite being an extremely independent person, people have made me feel like I am unappreciative, that I am not making the most out my experience, or that I am not “giving college a chance.” But being at school has made me realize many valuable lessons about home.
It’s important to note that I understand my place of privilege in my feelings, coming from a person who not only has a strong support system of friends, but also an extremely loving, close-knit family dynamic. I understand not everyone’s home may look this way, or one’s version of home may not be so positive — and that’s okay, too.
However, with this in mind, I have realized how lucky I am to have such love and support around me, and how important it is to sympathize with others who may not have the same. I have a new appreciation for my life, and to not take these people or these feelings of comfort and security for granted.
I know now that it’s okay if your “college experience” isn’t the standard; if what you’re doing works for you and makes you happy, that’s what should matter.
So, even though I’ve probably spent more time in college packing weekend bags or riding trains home, I’ve realized that this is just the way my college story is written — and that’s okay.