I’m a North Carolina resident, but I grew up in Jersey, and I spend a considerable amount of my time at school in Delaware. So where’s home? It gets confusing to my friends when I don’t specify. Usually it refers to the general vicinity where a large chunk of my family resides in South Jersey. But once I’m there, “home” is my mom’s house at the shore. It’s complicated, I know.
To me, “home” is more of a feeling than a location. Some of it has to do with people. At the end of the semester, I get stressed and I get that panging feeling in my gut because all I want to do is go “home” and see my mom and my dog. But then a couple days go by, and the isolation starts to overwhelm me. I miss the freedom of being at school where I can go where I want when I want. And where all my friends are within a very small radius. Suddenly UD is the “home” I’m so glad to be back at after an extended time away.
These days, I spend the most amount of time in Newark. I worked all summer and hung out with the ten people who stuck in the area to be townies with me. I watched the freshmen move in and say nervous goodbyes to their parents. I remember when I was naive and awkward and felt uncomfortable in this place that I’m already pretending I don’t have to say goodbye to in May.
UD is a safe place. South campus is home. I act like I own Townsend. I take pride in being a member of CANR. My friends in the college are like family. I’m very thankful for them these days because I feel like I never really got to go home this summer. I never got a break. And as the stress level across campus rises with the first round of exams and projects, I’m jealous of the people who go home once a week. I feel like there is always something keeping me here – class, work, parties, events. This is good; I like being busy.
But I wish I had known that the last time I spent an extended period of time being the baby of the house was the last. I would have spent more time cuddling with my favorite yellow lab on the futon in my mom’s office. Instead, I make sure to spend some time almost every day just sitting out on my porch watching people and cars go by. And I surround myself with the friends that have become family over the past few years. Because in a lot of ways, I am in fact home.