When I left for college in August, I was extremely prepared. I placed an order on Bed Bath and Beyond, buying hangers, food storage bins, a mirror, even dental floss and toothpaste. I cleared out my closet in San Francisco and packed my three suitcases. I said goodbye to close friends and extended family and made sure to spend my last days in San Francisco with my parents. On the day my parents dropped me off for college, I cried and said goodbye; but in my mind, I was even prepared for that – that was normal.
Reconsidering the notion of home was something I did not and could not have prepared for. I didn’t realize my perceptions of home had changed until one night when I was studying in McCabe library with a friend. I was working on an economics problem set and at around 11 p.m., I decided it was time to return back to my dorm. I looked at my friend and said, “Okay, I think I’m going to head home now.” We said bye and I walked back to my dorm – the place I now call home.
I had always assumed that our apartment in San Francisco would be my home. My parents live there, I grew up there, and many of my friends live in the city. I associate a home with being warm and cozy, being bustling with family members, and being filled with delicious food.
Yet somehow, I had just called my dorm my home. Something had changed.
As I write this blog post, I’m flying back from spring break in San Francisco. While I love spending time with my parents during breaks, an odd feeling always possesses me. Our apartment doesn’t completely feel like home anymore – my bed frame is gone and I live out of my suitcase when visiting. I have to buy a new toothbrush every time I return home and my favorite snacks are never in the fridge or freezer.
And as I write this blog post, I’m excited to return back to school. Swarthmore feels like my home now. That is not to say that San Francisco and my parents aren’t home, but I’ve learned to accept the duality of the notion of home. My closest friends are in Swarthmore, my clothes and belongings are in Swarthmore, and my life is in Swarthmore. While I might’ve denied that this would happen, it has and I’m gradually learning to accept it.