Jumping Hurdles: On feeling homesick

As I’m typing this, I’m all sorts of emotional. This past weekend was filled with amazing people in beautiful spaces, and I have spent all day reflecting on how lucky I am to be alive and to be loved. I spent part of my weekend on the beach in Rhode Island with a couple of friends, unplugging for a night and just enjoying each other’s company. Something about being in a house with a bunch of people I care about filled me with a sense of longing to go home and spend time with my family. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the season, maybe I’m just a sap, but I’m feeling homesick.

Homesickness has always been a familiar feeling to me. I’m a homebody; I resent change. I’ve always loved spending time with my family and have felt lucky that I have had such a good relationship with them. I’m also irrationally attached to the place I’m from — I grew up frolicking in the mountains of Utah and have developed a very special bond with the nature that’s just outside my house. It’s never easy for me to leave, even though as I’ve grown I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Coming to college was one of the hardest things I ever did in terms of my homesickness — I don’t think I’ve ever cried harder than the day I said goodbye to my parents, about to embark on my freshman year. With time, the stabs of pain I would feel when thinking about home turned into dull aches. I was able to quell my homesickness by finding little pieces of comfort here at Tufts. And now, two years into college, I feel comfortable and content with my new home in Massachusetts.

But these feelings today reminded me that just because I’m two years older doesn’t mean I’m immune to homesickness. Although I’ve grown comfortable at Tufts, I’m not sure it will ever feel completely like home — and honestly, that’s okay with me.

I think there is a lot of pressure to make it seem like you love every part of your college, and feel like you really belong. After all, we all came to Tufts for a reason — we were drawn to this school, whether by a relative that went here, a convincing tour guide or random chance. So when I came here, and realized it wasn’t all gold and glitter all the time, I felt ashamed that I wasn’t completely happy at this school. I felt, and still sometimes feel, that everyone had a place except me — that I’m just a floater.

But I’ve realized that there are so many people who all feel the same way. I’ve come to accept the fact that while there are many things I love about Tufts, and I feel very happy and fortunate to be here, I’ll probably never feel 100 percent like I belong. But these four years are just one small part of my journey through life, and the best thing I’ve learned to do is find little slices of “home” here and there in ways such as going on a weekend trip to Rhode Island with good friends. These little things help me through the homesickness and remind me that maybe, just maybe, “home” is more than just a physical location.