My first semester away from home was one full of new experiences, new friends, and a newfound independence. Being that it was a new environment, I was able to get comfortable living on campus, but it didn’t hold a candle to being at home. However, once I was finally able to visit my hometown, Apopka in Orange County, and see everyone and everything doing just fine without me, it no longer felt like home either.
This holiday season, freshman Imani Ruff traveled back home to Charlotte for the first time since August.
”Being home doesn’t feel like home, but being at school doesn’t either. I feel like I belong more at FAMU though because there’s more of that family environment,” Ruff said. “It’s more of that environment where everybody knows what you’re going through as far as stress, school, and finding yourself.”
First discovered my freshman year, this was a feeling I would soon know all too well, as it plagued me for the duration of my sophomore year as well. As holiday breaks approached, I never shared the same excitement to go home as some of my peers. Don’t get me wrong, I missed my family, friends, homemade meals and my childhood church. However, school gave me a sense of freedom I just didn’t have at home. Thankfully, I’d cultivated friendships at FAMU that I found myself missing just a few days after leaving them. It didn’t help that last year, I went upstairs to discover that I’d been moved out of the room I grew up in and was now to sleep in the room next door to it that I’ve always known to belong to my sister. My usual abode was now my mother’s sewing room.
Even as my home visits came to a close and I returned to my humble spot in Paddyfote, I was greeted with the whole community bathroom situation and several loud floor-mates, reminding me that this wasn’t exactly a sanctuary to live in either. Seeing pros and cons in both environments, I no longer hold a true sense of belonging or a preference toward any place.
In an article on collegecandy.com, the author experienced similar feelings as they returned home for summer vacation after their first year away at school in Boston. She coined the feelings as “reverse homesickness.”
“Second semester, however, I really began to find my footing at school, and I had a wonderful time,” the author known as CCANDYJESSNE wrote. “Suffice it to say, when I arrived home, I was feeling a little morose. I wasn’t going to see anyone from Boston until September.”
Nowadays, I instead just choose to enjoy my time wherever I am. I’ll have my time to enjoy myself in both places, why rush going to either? I’ve stopped expecting either place to feel perfect and create my own sense of belonging by making a point to enjoy myself no matter the setting.