On Making Yourself At Home
It was a hot and humid day in August when I began my college journey.
As soon as we arrived at the dorm, several energetic and cheerful people in yellow shirts immediately started unloading our car. Before we could even take a breath, the car was completely unloaded and all of my stuff was waiting for me outside my dorm room. This hard goodbye with your family that everyone had talked about was coming sooner than anticipated, and I didn’t think I was ready.
We went up to my room to unpack, set up my bedspread, took move-in day pictures, and then it was time to say goodbye.
It wasn’t until my parents and my brother drove away that it started to feel weird. They just dropped me off and I had no idea when I would see them again next.
I was hopeful that I would understand why everyone says “college is the best four years of your life” and that “this place will become your home.” Part of me was thinking, “I already have a home back in New Hampshire, why do I need another one?” But another part of me was trying to believe that it’s possible to have multiple homes in this world.
The conversations that I had during retreats and service trip reflections, during club meetings, while I was volunteering and working around campus, and during club cross country practice made me feel like I belonged. I felt like I could be myself unapologetically. The people I met throughout my college journey gave me the courage to challenge myself and strive to be the person I wanted to become.
From when I was born to when I was 18 years old, my home was New Hampshire because that’s where my parents raised me. I knew the best diners in town and the best places to grab food after school. And then I had to start all over again.
When I was 18 years old, Boston College became my home because I immersed myself in the community and grew as a person through deep and meaningful conversations.
Now that I’ve graduated, home is a little harder to define.
Right after I graduated, I moved in with my grandparents to save a little money and because they lived close to my workplace. My grandmother’s homemade meatloaf and lasagna was incredible and seeing their faces when I would get home from work everyday was priceless.
But I was hesitant to make this my home.
I didn’t put anything on the walls, which contributed to my mindset that this was temporary. I went back to my hometown almost every weekend, feeling very lost. I didn’t know what was home anymore because I was constantly on the road—in one state during the week and another state on the weekends. I went back and forth so frequently that I rarely had to re-pack my duffle bag.
Home felt transitory, and I wasn't quite sure what was home.
But through my job first job at MIT, I realized that an office can be a home too.
It was great when I first started this job, but something still felt like it was missing. It didn’t feel like home (in the office sense). I liked the work that I was doing and generally enjoyed the office environment, but something felt off.
Two months in, I started eating lunch with some of my co-workers on a regular basis. This led to spending more time with them outside of work, like going to Red Sox games and grabbing drinks and appetizers at happy hour.
I began to feel a sense of comfort when I walked into my office building. It wasn’t as intimidating anymore; it was a home now.
Six months after graduation, I finally moved into my own apartment. This was different than the time I moved out for college or when I moved to my grandparent's house because this time I didn’t know when I would be going back. I moved to the outskirts of Boston, not that far from where I had previously been living, but it still felt like I was moving far away because now I was officially on my own.
In post-grad, you might be three miles from your alma mater, and 35 miles from your hometown, but you still have to pave a new path to become independent, no matter how far or near you moved.
Finding home is harder in post-grad but once we find it, we have a feeling it will all be okay. Maybe home is just seeing the light in everything, even in the darkness. Maybe home can be found in the simplest of times like watching Grey’s Anatomy or The Bachelor with roommates or going on a long walk with a friend after grabbing a slice of pizza. Maybe home is going out for drinks with co-workers after work. Maybe home is simply a sense of comfort.
Boston College provided me with so many opportunities that allowed me to quickly feel at home. I found my niche and I found my people; the people who gave me the courage to be myself, be vulnerable, and the people who are still some of my people today (you know who you are…).
Boston College will always be my home. My childhood home in New Hampshire will always be my home. I will never fully depart from these homes but instead bring with me the memories and lessons learned from those experiences. All of our past homes have contributed into creating us into the people we are today.
I’m thankful for the home that Boston College gave me, but now it’s time to replicate that in this post-grad life and find my place in this world.
A home isn’t just a house, dorm room, or apartment. It’s the people, experiences, and opportunities that make a place a home.
Windrose Magazine is your guide to navigating life in your twenties through a collection of essays, interviews, and advice that will inspire you to chart your own life course, free of comparison.
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