Growing up, there was never really a second thought about it: I was going to university somewhere in the world. It was in some ways expected of me by friends, family members and my peers, and quite frankly, myself. I was always comfortable with the idea of leaving home and going to a school, an environment, a country, thousands of miles away from my family, friends and comfort zone. That is, until I left.
Immediately after arriving in the US, and at Quinnipiac, I submerged myself in academics, activities and socializing, in attempts to keep my mind off of home and the homesickness that would inevitably follow. And it worked for some time. But there are the days you're sick, or tired, or crying, or stressed, or quite frankly just pissed off, and all you want is the comfortable bed you slept in for years, or your mom's melodic nagging (bet you never thought it was melodic at the time, huh?), or even your annoying older brother. It hit, and it hit me hard: I was homesick.
Winter break came, and I spent five glorious weeks in my paradise I get to call home. I spent time with my family, I tanned, I partied and most of all, I did absolutely nothing with my time. I got to spend hours without end with my best friends, I got to snapchat my friends from school with pictures from the beach while they suffered through another December snowstorm, and I got to see my grandmother, my cousins, my nephew, my parents and my siblings. I truly felt at home.
But one part of me couldn't wait to get back to Quinnipiac. Maybe 5 weeks was just a long time, but I found myself counting down the days till I was back with my roommates, my best friend and my fellow writers at the Chronicle. I missed the regularity of a schedule, of having a party, a cafeteria and my bedroom all within 10 minutes from each other. I missed staying up until 5am bonding with my roommates, talking about absolute nonsense and reminding each other every hour that we lost yet another hour of sleep before our full day of classes the following day.
It was then that I realized Quinnipiac was too, my home. I never picked up on the feeling of comfort I experienced while I was there, or how I'd subconsciously refer to my bedroom as "home", or remark on how happy I was to be going "home" after a weekend off-campus. Quinnipiac somehow - in all the craziness of meeting friends, finding my fit on campus, adjusting to living in a box, sharing a bathroom with 50 girls and learning to accept my crazy roommates as my sisters and best friends - became my home, and I have never been prouder to be a bobcat.
In "What Happened to Goodbye", Sarah Dessen wrote:
"Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go."
I never understood how true her words were until I came here, and as cliché as it sounds, home is much more than just a place. It's where you are, it's who you're with, it's who you are when you're there and with those people, and it's how you feel. It's more than just a setting, it's a moment, a memory, a stepping stone to who you're going to be. Each "home" you have should mould you into the person you are today, and the person you want to become tomorrow.
Most importantly, home should be where you're happiest. It's corny but it's true: you're happy when you're home. So I encourage you all to go off into the world, find your home; and when you find it, go find a new one. Keep exploring and growing and building and becoming the person you want to be, because before you know it, we actually have to grow up and then buy a home (and that's a different story altogether!)
Enjoy the Caro Diaries, today's just one page, who knows what tomorrow will bring.