When I come back to school after a long summer of indulging in the comforts of home, I’m reminded of just how difficult it is to turn a house (or a dorm, or an apartment) into a home while away at college. At every turn, I’m reminded of the impermanence of my living space. There is no family pet lounging on the sofa, waiting to be cuddled when homework gets too stressful. There is no oak piano in the dining room, passed down from generation to generation. There are no high school best friends studying in my bedroom because sometimes just being in the same room and listening to music is enough.
I’m always aware of the fact that this isn’t my home yet, no matter how hard I try to make it so.
It can take a long time to feel truly at ease in a university setting, even beyond freshman year. The idea that only freshmen ever feel homesick or out of place at school can make older students feel ashamed for not yet finding their niche. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t feel like you’ve cultivated a fulfilling space for yourself on campus. We can put as many candles and quilts in our rooms as we like, but trust us, we understand what it’s like to not feel quite at home mentally.
For many students, October is a month that brings comfort, warmth, and growth. Now is the perfect time to get your house in order, spiritually and physically. Take advantage of the cozy feeling you get from seeing the leaves change and busting out your favorite sweaters to help you contemplate what kind of home you want to make for yourself. That could mean literally revamping your room décor, connecting with more people in your community, or exploring what it means to feel comfortable in your own skin. Whatever you need to settle yourself in this semester, seize this opportunity to ask yourself what home means to you while feelings of contentment abound.
After all, what is a home? Is it a place? Is it a person? Is it a club, study spot, or mindset? There is no right answer. Every go-getter needs a space to rejuvenate their energy before returning to the grind. Take some time to figure out what home means to you, beyond just your living space. Comfort and welcome can come from anywhere, and it’s important to identify those spaces that give us energy instead of draining it so we can stay ambitious and healthy this month.
Above all, it’s important for us to arrive at a place where we are proud of who we are while also being open to changes. That is our true home. As we reach the last legs of 2018, make an effort to place yourself on a track that will leave you satisfied with the progress you made on your personal journey this year. It doesn’t have to be big. I personally am going to try meal planning to spend less money eating out and push to get an A in my hardest class this semester. Focus on setting reasonable goals that will make you proud when the year comes to a close, and deepen your understanding of the little home you have built in yourself.
Our letters from the editor are written by College Fashionista editorial fellows to help us define and welcome in the theme of the month. How do you define home? Share your thoughts with us on social media @cfashionista!