Helen Armstrong, Oak Summit Apartments
Reading in my cozy room in Oak Summit helps me feel at home.

How Could School Possibly Become Home?

There’s a universal truth among college students that I’m about to let you in on: Everybody gets homesick sometimes. The degree varies from a twinge of “Aw, I wish I could pet my cat right now” to sobbing into your pillow on your bed. And the length of time it lasts varies, too – some are homesick their first night and then never again, while others are longing for home throughout the whole first semester. All of this is totally fine and normal.

If you want, I’ll let you in on another important piece of information: It ends.

No matter how homesick you are, I guarantee you will get over it. One day you’ll wake up and realize with a jolt that you haven’t been homesick for a while. In fact, you’ll realize that your entire perspective on “home” has shifted – I remember when I started referring to my dorm room as “home.”

No matter how homesick you are, I guarantee you will get over it.

When I first came to Arcadia, I didn’t think that my dorm room would ever feel like my home. That springy bed, the bright sterile lights, the annoying shared bathroom, noisy meals at the dining hall, walking all the way down the hall to use the microwave. Home? Fat chance. How could any place feel right when it didn’t have the comforts of my family home?

I was wrong.

Once you start to get involved in college, you’ll start adapting without even noticing it. Your Instagram posts will stop being #tbt’s and become photos of the sunset behind Murphy Hall, or the castle in the afternoon sunshine, or your favorite reading spot in the library. You’ll get caught up in midnight milkshakes at Michael’s (which is totally a thing you can do and still get your 8 hours of shut-eye), and new routines of going to class and doing homework, perfecting your Chat order, meeting new people and spending time laughing on your dorm floor with your friends, joining clubs and trying new things, playing Cards Against Humanity in the lounge… One of the best things about college is that you now have a variety of new things to do. Instead of going to the same Starbucks in your hometown every day after school with the same people, you can join Knight Club and learn that you’re actually a really good dancer, try out for the Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast, start playing an intramural sport, or marathon four seasons of Lost with your roommate. You won’t have time to think about home.

Once you’re settled in and have a routine that’s all your own making, you’ll really feel like you’re at home. I surprised myself last spring by going abroad and actually missing Arcadia. I missed simple things like having my own apartment with my best friends, spending an hour between classes on the sunny upper floor of the library, eating endless chips from the Chat, going to the gym with my roommate. It wasn’t my family home that I missed anymore. Not this time. This time, I missed Arcadia. Home.