What does it mean when you go home and it doesn’t feel like home? Obviously, it’s your home, but it doesn’t feel right. Maybe you felt the same way. Maybe your home didn’t feel the same and you can’t figure out why. When you’ve been at college for a month and the only thing that got you through midterms week was knowing that you would be back home for a few days to unwind, eat some home cooking and procrastinate doing the work that was assigned during break until Tuesday night. What happens when you walk into your bedroom and you don’t recognize it? What does that mean?
The first time I went home freshman year something definitely felt off. I couldn’t understand why it didn’t feel like home. At the time, the only logical explanation was the new welcome mat in front of the garage door; it was throwing everything off. The welcome mat was the only thing that changed while I was at school.
While I was home my mom lectured me about making sure I don’t stay out too late and how I should always go to bed at a reasonable time, but I had already broken both of those caveats. My friends and I occasionally walked to Sweeney Field in the middle of the night on Saturdays because it was fun and we were bored. Also, with the amount of homework I got (and still do) it’s impossible for me to go to bed at a reasonable time. I have freedom at home, but not as much as in college. There’s no one to tell me when I have to come back home, when I have to go to sleep or tell me I can’t have holes in my jeans (that was actually a school rule).
When I returned to school, I asked a few of my friends if going home felt strange for them too. They said that it did, but they couldn’t place what felt off either. One possible hypothesis was that maybe our bedrooms felt off because all our decorations, clothes and bedding were in our dorm rooms. It made sense, but I didn’t think that was what felt different.
You’re probably thinking at this point, ‘wow, what an enigma! That welcome mat really did mess everything up.’ However, even I had to come to the conclusion that the welcome mat changing everything was a ridiculous idea. Well, due to my infinite amount of wisdom, I figured out why everything felt weird: I was the one who changed. I know it sounds strange because by the time fall break comes, it does not seem like you’ve been at school for that long, but you’ve adjusted. I became more independent, I learned how to do laundry, I made so many new friends, I was so much happier than I had been in a very long time. I became accustomed to being on campus and going home did not feel the same because Saint Joseph’s became my home.
At first, I was unsettled by the idea. Easton, Pennsylvania is my home, not Saint Joseph’s! I felt guilty. I didn’t want to forget about Easton, it’s where I grew up; it’s where I made my first memories. However, that’s the best part about all of this: Saint Joe’s is not only where I go to school, but it became my second home.
Maybe fall break wasn’t the time you realized Saint Joseph’s is your home away from home. Maybe it’ll take longer for you to come to that conclusion. But when you come to that wonderful revelation that you’re fortunate enough to have two homes, think of me, and remember that I was right. But also, feel loved and blessed because you have Saint Joseph’s as another home.