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Jan 19 2016
by Elaine Lu

Where Do You Call Home When You're In College?

By Elaine Lu - Jan 19 2016

Who do you live with?

I live with my parents.
… my roomate(s).
… myself.
… my friend.
… my boyfriend/girlfriend.
… my fiancé.
… my husband/wife.
… my family.
A year ago today, I said I love going from place to place. A year ago today, I said that the comforts of home are no match for the diversity of opinions, personalities, and experiences found away from familiarity. I enjoy meeting people in between destinations because at these intervals I am more frequently reminded that we are all quite similar. Although we are part of different circles with various acquaintances, our emotional and calculated responses are motivated by the similar wants, desires, and passions. With this pervading thought, I learned to trust myself to be myself a little more.

But among the number of things I have learned and have been thinking about this semester, there’s another thought. Is possible to have multiple homes? Not homes as in physical structures but places where we feel at home. Where comfort is not associated with where we live but with the feeling you have when you are somewhere, wherever that is. The same feelings you have when you feel safe and when you love and are loved. Isn’t it that simple? And isn’t that all we want?

For those attending schools away from family, here’s another thought. Imagine if we could press pause when we leave home for school and play when we return. It's certainly not possible because nothing stays the exact same over time, but it's plausible. Back to the analogy, when you leave a place, no one else has pressed pause but you. You may receive updates from family and friends about new events in their own lives, but when you return, all the changes would have already taken place. I think that’s a good thing, a little scary, but good. That means that we still are always living and experiencing and learning new things albeit in different places. But perhaps home shouldn’t even be assigned any specific place because it is also exactly where we are, and how we make that place our own.

Let’s go back to my first question: who do you live with? In addition to where we are living, home is also who we are with at that time. I believe that in a lifetime, a person could answer with most, if not all of the choices above.

At least right now, since I’m back, my home is here at school. It is the place I am becoming more familiar with. The place that can offer endless varieties of experiences as a byproduct of living today different than yesterday, just how I love it... but home is also where I’m from. It’s where I want to be. It’s where family live. It’s where friends are. It’s also exactly where we are, dare I repeat, and how we make that place our own. I’m still not sure if I can give a definition for the word home, but I think we all know what it feels like to be there. 

Home is an adjective.

Lead image credit: Flickr

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Elaine Lu - Rhode Island School of Design

Elaine is originally from california, now studying in providence. You can also find her @starbucks @peetscoffee @universityave OR @eelainelu on twitter and instagram!

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