What is the collegiate concept of home?
The comfort of having a home
March 15, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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It’s not uncommon for college students to move from year to year. Some might move off campus into a house with friends. Some could stay on campus their whole college career, changing dorms each year. You might live with complete strangers or cherished friends. We’re living out of boxes, packing and unpacking. Constantly moving, changing and rearranging. As college students, we never permanently settle down. Everything is temporary. Wherever you live or move to, the challenge remains in calling a place your home.
During my first year, I refused to call my dorm my home. My hometown was still my home. That’s where my actual bed, dog and younger brother were. I didn’t want to lose my home that I had known for all of my life up until that point. The house you grew up in will always be yours, but it becomes less and less yours as you live somewhere else. However, I felt like I had to pick one over the other. I was loyal to the home that had housed me for most of my life. Could they really both be my home?
Sophomore Natalie Pieterick, who lived in Peterson her first year, was conflicted on if the house she grew up in still felt like a home during her first year at Hamline.
“It’s weird to move away because your house is still familiar, but at the same time it’s different than what it once was,” Pieterick explained.
You go through a lot of big changes during your first year and your dorm room is privy to all of them. It sees you up late, studying for your first finals. It comforts you through feelings of homesickness and heartache. It smiles as you make friends, watching you finally feel like you belong.
Living in an off-campus house can make college-living feel more like a home. You settle down, partially at least, setting up your bedroom and living spaces. Your room serves as your safe haven, free from roommates who don’t do their dishes and the stresses of college academics. At the end of each day once classes have ended, you retreat back home, realizing you call it going “home.”
Moving off campus into a house, my opinions on where my home is have changed. When I’m back in my hometown and leaving to come back to St. Paul, I say I’m going home. I’ve embraced the idea that I will be living out of boxes and containers for a few years. Although the bedroom in my childhood home is a mess of half-unpacked boxes, high school mementos and clothes on the floor, it’s still familiar. Like Pieterick said, it’s familiar, yet different. Something has changed that you can’t quite put your finger on.
My hometown will always be a home for me, but St. Paul is increasingly becoming a home as well. Exploring my new city has immensely helped me settle in. I’ve started calling my Hamline house my home, without even realizing it.