Stay connected to home at school using all of your senses

Dorothy may have managed to relocate her house from Kansas on the whirling winds of a twister, but for college students, bringing home to Champaign is a little bit trickier. No matter how much you love the sight of orange-and-blue décor, the taste of greasy late night food and the sound of Friday night bar music, there are times when you cannot deny that you miss those little pieces of home. You can remedy your home sickness with appeals to your sense of:

*Sight*

Ok, so you love that trendy rug from Urban Outfitters and your eccentric collection of dishes. But sometimes, you just want to see that tacky poster your dad insists on leaving in the basement because it reminds you of home. So find a look-alike. No one says your room has to be a replica of your mother’s Better Homes & Garden magazines, but decorating with a little bit of home in mind can be simple and comforting.

Pictures are another way to channel that homey feeling — but do not use only those cheesy, generic posed pictures. Frame the candid photos that spark a memory because they capture your family and friends in action or catch them by surprise. These are the pictures that will give you that chicken-soup-for-the-soul warmth.

*Sound*

I will admit it — I’m not the biggest football fan, but turning on the Bears game (even if I’m not watching) brings those Sunday afternoon sounds from my sofa at home to my futon in Champaign. And come spring time, you better bet I’ll be listening to the St.

Patrick’s Day CD we always played in the car. While it may not be a roommate favorite, a few tracks will have you reminiscing of times when your parents embarrassingly played these songs on the road. And if you have a certain holiday album or songs your family would play at home, don’t be afraid to put them in your iTunes library and listen away; you’ll be surprised at how comforting it can be to hear the sounds carrying through your home away from home.

*Taste & Smell*

Your mother will be more than happy to pass on her family recipe for double chocolate brownies or fresh apple pie.

Fill your apartment with this aroma and not only will your roommates love you, but you’ll have a little taste of home.

Something as small as the laundry detergent your mom uses at home can also connect you to home.

*Touch*

When you lived at home, nothing could beat snuggling up on your couch on a chilly night with that old afghan blanket and old couch pillow that has practically molded to your face. If your family can stand to part with them, pack those little pieces of home with you, and they can keep you in touch with the comforts of home.

For those who had to leave furry friends behind when they moved to Champaign, taking advantage of the many volunteer opportunities at animal shelters in the Champaign area can be a good way to get an animal-lover’s fix and help out the community. Or you could be like my roommate and have your dog’s face screen-printed on a plush pillow.

And of course, if you are someone who still hangs onto their childhood blanket or that teddy bear whose fur is matted with love, there’s no shame in letting them adorn your bed pillows.

I’m not saying that you should wallow in your homesick sorrows or call your mommy every night for a goodnight lullaby, but keeping connected to your family and your home in these simple, creative ways will hold you over until you’re home on holiday breaks and you’re wishing you could just return to Champaign-Urbana.

_Maggie is a sophomore in LAS._