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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 West Chester chapter.

I thought leaving for college was hard, but coming home for the first time was harder. Adjusting to being away from the place you know as home, makes being there never the same. No one ever mentions how sad it is to drive around a town where no one lives anymore. Passing places you went every day without stopping is so uncomfortable. You expect a town waiting for you to return, but everyone is busy with their own lives. Returning home as a guest in your own family is a feeling unlike any other. Living out of bags in the room you’ve always lived in is even weirder. Why does being in my room feel so foreign? My bed is in the same place with the same sheets, yet I sleep differently. I put my head on the same pillow with the same headrest, yet my hair lays differently. The mirror on the wall didn’t sink three inches but why can’t I see myself in it? Everything sits in the same place, but the room feels like a mess. 

Asking your sister to recap the last six months feels like the most impossible task. You can feel her growing up too. Her hair has gotten longer, and her nose looks more like yours. When did she get taller than me? She wears mascara now and I think that is blush on her cheeks. Did she even get her period yet? She never asked to wear my clothes before, but she’s wearing my shirt. When did she stop wearing Star Wars shirts? She looked so pretty in her homecoming dress; I wonder if she had fun. Don’t even mention she has a boyfriend now.  

Coming home from college has gotten easier, but every time I feel myself growing up. Everything I once knew and loved is different. Even my neighborhood feels smaller. It is the same feeling I get when I visit my grandparents. It is strange. It feels familiar yet I feel dissociated from that life. I feel my childhood memories fade a little more each time I visit home. It even feels weird to say that: “visit home”. The nostalgia gets a bit stronger each time too. I find myself wanting to return to my room on campus, and I feel terrible that I do. 

No one ever prepared me for the feeling of coming home after going to college. No one talks about how weird it is to be a guest in your own house and how sad it is to drive around seeing what else has changed in your town. You can feel yourself growing up. The whole concept of home is different now. People always say home is where your heart is, but it is hard when your heart is no longer in the same place. I’d like to tell you it gets easier, because it does, but I also want to tell you that this is completely normal. 

Learning to call a new place home is the most wholesome feeling. You cannot explore who you are and where you belong in a place that is comfortable. Change is good. Change gives you a chance to build something of your own. Although the place you grew up does feel different, and it may not feel like home, it is still the place with the people you love. Find ways to feel comfort while you are there, but ultimately where you find home is up to you. Your hometown will always be there when you need it but give yourself a chance to build a home for yourself. One that is yours.

Rhiannon Henry

West Chester '27

Hello! My name is Rhiannon Henry! I am a writing major at West Chester University and I am so happy to be a part of HerCampus! I play softball at WCU, I love movies, art, music, and my friends and family! Writing is a huge passion of mine, and I can't wait to contribute to the HerCampus community!