Loyola University Maryland

Messina

You Can’t Go Home Again

REFLECTION BY LOYOLA JUNIOR, BROOKE AMODEI

The smallest turkey I’d ever seen was the centerpiece of our meal. This Thanksgiving was different, because I, a born and raised Connecticut resident, was sitting in an apartment in central Dallas, Texas with only my immediate family. Growing up, this holiday was a large affair, alternating between my and my grandma’s house with lots of family and more food than could feed the neighborhood. But my family, like those of several other new college students, had just moved out of my childhood home when I went off to school.

The topic is more relevant to college students than you might think, although it is not discussed much- either because it is painful, or students don’t think it’s as common as it is. However, there are multiple scenarios where a student cannot return home for the holidays once they come to college. Maybe their family moved out of their childhood home, like me- or maybe they live too far away from Loyola to travel for the holidays, like junior Karina Kropp, an accounting major from Tokyo, Japan. Kropp says “It’s difficult when people go home for Thanksgiving and other short holidays, or (when parents come for) family weekend when I get really homesick and am unable to see my family.” For me, because of my dad’s job since I’ve been to college, my parents can be located anywhere from Detroit, to Dallas, to Billings, Montana every four to six months. This means that for me, I get the privilege of seeing my family, but always in a new and unfamiliar location. When I was a first year navigating a new school and living space, and having to navigate new places during the holidays too, nowhere quite felt like home.  It can be difficult to see friends going home for the holidays when you can’t, but this lost feeling does not last to this extent forever, and you’re not alone in it.

For me, it was always difficult to leave to a new place because it never quite felt home-y, and something always felt like it was missing. A homesickness with no home to return to feels kind of hopeless. Last year, I went home with a friend for spring break, which was incredibly nice because being in a well established home did wonders for my feelings of displacement, and her family was so kind and welcoming. Karina has shared this sentiment, saying that “My network of friends has been amazing at Loyola… so many of my friends have taken me home for holidays or even just taken me in and allowed me to tag along to family dinners.”

It’s also always important to stay in touch with your family, and even to establish new traditions if you can. Also, visit other family you may have- like grandparents or aunts and uncles. We normally spend Christmas at my grandma’s house, which is somewhere I grew up going to and feels comfortable.  Karina also mentioned how important it was to talk about how you’re feeling with family and friends, even if you think people won’t understand. The holidays can be a time of mixed emotions and difficulty for everyone, not just someone going through these major changes.

One thing you also might find in either of these situations, is that Loyola begins to feel a bit more like home sooner than it does for others. I found myself anxiously awaiting returning to school towards the end of winter break my first year, because of the home I had began to build there. You’ll find that with support from friends and family, this new chapter of your life is one that, while hard, can still hold joy and remind you what’s important.

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