Welcome Home

It’s funny how fast time flies. I have officially made it through my first semester at LMU! I’m not one to easily get sentimental, but I clearly remember the weeks prior to moving in and how unbelievably excited I was. As the weeks of summer slowly fell away and  the cooler weather of August came into view, I wondered what this new stage of my life would have in store for me. The day before move-in day, I kept myself busy by finishing up my packing and then double (and triple…and quadruple…) checking that I had everything in order. I couldn’t sleep that night! By the time I had finally drifted off it was time to get up and make the hour-long trek to campus. My parents, grandmother, and I piled into two separate cars and made our way to Harrogate. I couldn’t believe that the day was finally here! I was tired and contemplated trying to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. At one point during the trip, right around the time when the campus came into view, Phillip Phillips’ popular song “Home” came on the radio.
I believe that coincidences are a part of life and most of the time they do not mean that much. However, I couldn’t help but take something from this one.

This was going to be my new home.

Now that the semester is finished, I’m back at my first home with my family. Being only an hour away from campus makes it easy to come home whenever I like, but as the semester came to the close and there were papers to write, tests to study for, and all kinds of work to be done, coming home was quickly becoming a valued commodity. Keeping the holidays in mind was always the best way for me to keep sane during long nights of work! Talking to almost any student, even more experienced upperclassmen, I found that missing home is always on almost everyone’s mind, but that it becomes even more prominent near the holidays. I was very glad to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.

Homesickness was never really an issue I dealt with when I first moved to LMU. After a month of Governor’s School at a college six hours from my hometown, (which you can read about here!) being an hour away from home at a campus I was familiar with, it was easy to become acclimated. Being an only child, the hardest thing for me was living with five other girls in an apartment suite! Once the weather turned cold and the weather reports started mentioning snow flurries, everyone’s thoughts turned to getting through finals and returning home for the holidays. Though I had considered myself somewhat experienced at living away from home, I could not help but feel the same way.

Throughout the course of the past few months, I’ve come up with quite a few ways of combating homesickness. The easiest way, of course, was calling my parents whenever I was stressed out over an upcoming test or a paper I couldn’t quite word the right way. A ten minute phone conversation can do wonders- I found that I could study more efficiently and write better once I ranted about whatever assignment I was working on. Another way to get in contact with loved ones back home, for the more technologically advanced, is video calling. The hardest part for me was teaching my parents how to use the service, and even that wasn’t too difficult. We use the free Hangout service that Google + uses. I already was familiar with the features of the program since I frequently use it to talk to Governor’s School friends who live far away and I don’t get to see often. There are many other video calling companies that offer similar services, including the incredibly popular Skype. While there are obviously some differences between the services, the benefit of seeing a far away loved one will always be the same.

You may be familiar with Google Hangouts even if you’ve never used it. Google Chrome had a YouTube commercial campaign  that showed all of the great features it has. The one that I particularly liked and showed my parents was the one titled “Jess Time” in which a college freshman uses Google + to talk with her dad:

The worst part of being away from home, personally, was being away from my two dogs. My parents would tell me that every now and then one of them would walk into my room and look around for me the first few weeks I was gone. I found that, while I couldn’t pet them and they are still not quite used to video calling, being able to just see them on Hangouts was the best medicine for when I missed them the most.

Now that I’m home, I am loving the fact that I can pet my dogs whenever I want and I can talk to my parents without having to hold a phone. I know that I will always miss being away from home even when I’m older, but I know that there will always be ways for me to feel connected to my family. One of the best feelings that I felt all semester came when I called my parents and said, “I’ll be home next week. We’re doing Christmas at grandma’s, right?”

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