Home is closer than you think


Brenton Tse

Ho Chan Lee, a freshman in AHS, rolls his bags up the Illini Tower ramp on Sunday, Jan. 13th, 2013. “i mean first year i was excited because it was new. This year I have some new classes to RST (Recreation, Sport and Tourism).

By Paul deLutio, Columnist

“I may not be home again for a year, and that reality is starting to hit hard,” a friend said to me.

She was worried about the coming school year, and it’s easy to understand why. It’s not every day you leave your friends and family in Washington to travel over halfway across the country and go back to school in Milwaukee. Being from the Chicago suburbs and attending the University, I couldn’t help but feel slightly guilty for any time I became homesick at school. Clearly, my displaced friend had a lot to deal with in comparison.

For those of us attending the University, the time has come again to grind through difficult academic coursework, stress over exams, worry about anything and everything and occasionally have the primal flight response to our ever increasing stressors. Many of us just want to go home …


In the heat of the moment, it seems to be a sacred place where nothing can harm us, and we have nothing to worry about. But what makes home such a safe haven? Maybe it’s the familiarity, down to the very last detail on your parents’ mantel piece. Or perhaps it’s a sense of community, the idea that you’re surrounded by people that you love and trust. It could also be a place where you never feel lonely. Whatever it is that defines “home” to a person, there seems to be an overarching idea that helps elaborate this topic:

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You make your home wherever life takes you.

Although this isn’t a very revolutionary idea, I wish someone had explained it to me when I was a new student. It wasn’t until well into the second semester of my freshman year that I realized I needed to make this campus my home.

For me personally, making the bold move from Mom and Dad’s house into the world was exciting at first, until I realized that I was missing something that seemed irreplaceable. Throughout my first year at school I came across a few ways to truly make any place my home.

Give yourself a sense of belonging.

Whether it’s joining a club on campus or committing yourself to your career later in life, having a sense of belonging gives a student a strong sense of purpose. If you are invested in a team with a common goal, I can assure you that your sense of belonging will greatly contribute to developing your new home.

Surround yourself with people who care.

Nothing stifles the feeling of being at home like a bad attitude, and conversely, nothing contributes to the feeling of being at home like positive energy. As a freshman, finding selfless and caring people feels like a huge challenge; however, they are often in plain sight. Do what you can to talk to others around you and avoid being too reserved; you will be surprised how quickly frequent communication will help you feel at home.

Lastly, bring a little piece of your original home with you.

This last tip is open to interpretation. Maybe a piece of home for you is pictures of friends and family. Or it could be your favorite book from when you were in grade school. Any number of relics from your past can help ease you into your new home.

When it hits the fan and responsibilities are piling up endlessly, this piece of your old home should put you at ease, or make you slightly more comfortable in this unfamiliar place.

Explicitly stated, making a new place your home is easier said than done, but it will always be worth the effort. The more proficient you are at transitioning into new settings, the more flexible and worldly you will become, and before long, the entire Earth will seem a little bit smaller.

As for my friend, I have no doubts that she will transition seamlessly into her life in Milwaukee once again. As someone who actively practices the ideas discussed above, her year away from home won’t be nearly as difficult as once anticipated. However, I try to let her apprehension remind me that we are always going to be terrified of leaving the places we call home.

It isn’t until you take the step out the door you have grown so familiar with and make yourself known to the world that you can finally begin living your life.

Paul is a sophomore in LAS.
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