Campus becomes home for students

By Heidi Cho
Nation & World Editor

In the middle of my hectic sophomore year, I was desperately looking forward to going home for fall break. After greeting my dog, catching up with family and settling down into my childhood home, I realized something — I missed college.

From the random screaming and giant bugs to the friends who will kill them for you — I realized the College has slowly become a place of comfort for me.

At some point, I started calling my dorm home. I realized home is a place where I feel safe enough to break down, and then build myself back up again. It’s where my Wi-Fi instantly connects, and where my heart is — to draw on a few of the infinite clichés.

I found home at strange places from dinky classrooms in the Georgian Colonial buildings to the street lamp lit paths of campus at 2 a.m. From looking at them, I would have never thought that I would have made a home in them.

Students find comfort in ordinary elements around campus. (tcnj.edu)

That is partially why I found picking a college so difficult — you will never know where you’ll make your next home. Not only do students have to study, they have to be able to picture themselves living on campus too.

College is a perfect opportunity to learn more about yourself, and take a few risks. It’s a time where people are encouraged to explore, take chances and grow their interests. That includes getting into some strange situations, and finding others in organizations and clubs that can go through the bizarre experiences with you. In little ways, little places on campus have wormed their way into my heart, like a disease.

Without putting myself out there, I would never have found out more about myself and find places to miss even within an arm’s length of my family.

Don’t be afraid to try new things to make a home on campus. However, that doesn’t mean you have to let go of the old. I realized that home can be more than one place, and some of those places can be more like home than others. If home is really where the heart is, then my heart’s in more pieces than I thought.

Even if I enjoy living on campus within a few minutes of my close friends, I don’t have to let go of what I love at home. It goes further than appreciating the softer bed and larger personal space. I can miss my family and my favorite food without feeling guilty for wanting the freedom of living alone.

Home can be more than just one location. It can be several, and it can be so much more. Whether your home is a person, a book, a website, a song, or your favorite food, appreciate it while you’re there.

Even if we can’t always have the best of both worlds, we can still show each other how much we care for them even if we can’t always be there for them. You don’t have to forget about your roots to fly, only sever them.

It’s OK to be caught between different homes, between being an independent adult and your parent’s child, between flying and staying still. It’s a rough balance, but as long as you don’t let your past keep you from exploring, and don’t let the fear of getting lost keep you paralyzed, I think we’ll be fine.