What comes to mind when you think of home? What do you miss most about it? Is it the physical space in which you live or the neighborhood where you grew up? Is it your favorite restaurant? A hometown tradition? A summer hangout spot with friends? No matter the details, homes hold a central place in our lives. From creating memories to creating our very identities, they stay with us forever.
When I think of home I think of Chicago. I think of the two-flat apartment in Logan Square where I have lived my entire life. I remember summer nights spent running around the block catching lightning bugs, weekend soccer games by the lake and barbeques with the team, the high school dances and sporting events, that one winter break that was extended three days because of the deluge of snow, the hilarious train rides down on the CTA Blue Line to Lollapalooza with my best friends and walking around the corner to my favorite Mexican restaurant, El Cids.
One of my favorite memories from home was the Blackhawks parade. That was the summer before my freshman year of college. I woke up to a beautiful sunny day with a smile on my face. I got all dressed up in my Blackhawks apparel and took the Brown Line with my best friend, Maeve, to Millennium Park. We met up with a group of friends and watched the parade. The weather was perfect and I was with my best friends being a part of one of the coolest events of the summer. After the parade, we all went to the ledges between North Avenue and Oak Street beach, where we played games and enjoyed each others’ company. It’s times like these where I reflect back on the importance of home and this is just one of the moments when I realize how lucky I was to grow up there.
Nothing compares to the comfort your hometown brings, and sometimes it’s hard not to feel homesick while you’re away at college. Whether you’re from Michigan or out of state, we’ve all felt this way before. Moving is a part of life, though, and realizing that the community you have around you can be just as meaningful as the one you left behind can make college feel like a home away from home. With the many faces that Michigan State University has to offer, you can find that you have shared experiences with students on campus. With places like the comic book store, community gardens and REO town, you can find a sense of your hometown in the city of Lansing.
As Dorothy said perfectly in “The Wizard of Oz,” “There’s no place like home.” Whether it’s your new house, a newfound favorite restaurant, a fresh tradition or the welcoming community that makes up your home away from home, all provide that contentment we need.