After talking with some friends who go to other universities, I’ve realized not everyone calls the place that they live while at school “home.” After one decides he or she will attend Saint Joe’s, it is commonplace to say “SJU will be my home for the next four years.” The concept of home is a complex one because it is not necessarily a place, it is a feeling.
Yesterday, while I was preparing to go back to campus after Thanksgiving break, I told a friend that “I’m going home tomorrow.” I caught myself saying this, and realized that while at my actual home where I grew up, I referred to my university as “home.” I do this all the time without even realizing it, and I think it’s not only because that is where I live for the majority of the year, but also because that is where my people are.
“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there anymore.” – Robin Hobbs, Fool’s Fate.
As they say, home is where the heart is. I remember last year, my freshman year, I was talking with a friend about how strange it is that we live at our school. It’s a pretty weird concept because usually, school is a place you go every day and when you’re done, you go back home. So, what happens when “home” and “school” are synonymous?
When I moved out of my dorm at the end of freshman year, I went back to my house in Maryland and felt homesick. I wasn’t homesick for the cinderblock walls or linoleum floors; I was homesick for hanging out with my floormates in the common lounge, for hearing warm greetings on cold mornings in the communal bathroom, and for always being able to find someone to pull an all-nighter with. I was lucky because everyone on my floor was very close. We hung out together after class, we went out on the weekends together, and we leaned on each other through the trials and tribulations of the first year of college. We always called the fifth floor of Villiger Hall “home.” When you’re hours away from the place you’ve called home for the past 18 years, having a home away from home is vital.
Now, living in my apartment in Rashford Hall, this campus feels like home more than ever before. Not only is this where I sleep, eat, and where all of my stuff is; this is where my people are. The friends I’ve made at Saint Joe’s are some of the best people I’ve ever met. We’re a family. No really, we call it “Famsgiving” instead of “Friendsgiving.” Kinda lame, I know, but college is a million times easier when you have a family to get through it with.
Saint Joe’s is different from most universities because it’s not just a place to go to class and get a degree, it’s a new place to call home for four years. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll never want to leave.