Martha Hrdy

Growing up means a change in the definition of home

January 31, 2022

Stepping into my mom’s house after a chaotic fall semester felt like a sigh of relief.  

However, the eerie feeling that I’m a guest in my own house sunk in as soon as I realized my mom changed where the forks are. After a few days, the feeling grew and my hometown didn’t feel as familiar as it did before. 

This felt scary, but I realized this is what adulthood feels like.

College students spend about nine months on campus away from our parents homes and away from our hometowns. Many students stay here year-round, coming in the summer for internships and to get the most out of their leases.

After my first summer in Burlington, home became less of a place I lived and more of an on-paper residency. My parent’s address became where I registered my car, not my primary dwelling.

The majority of the year students spend time on our own getting into our own routines. We’re responsible for feeding ourselves, making our own doctors appointments and getting to class on time. 

We gain more confidence in ourselves away from our parents and high school friends.  

This feeling is normal. Parents don’t get it, maybe you don’t understand it, but many college students have the same feeling.  

Everybody experiences life differently in college separate from family and people they’ve known since elementary school, so feeling antsy to go back home makes sense.  

Experiences like forming new friendships, romantic relationships and asking professors for help are building blocks that help grow our confidence as adults. Navigating college builds real world skills and nurtures individualism.

I understand I don’t have any less of a home or safe space back in my hometown and I don’t love my parents any less.

I have a new relationship with my past. As my life moves on, my home is where I feel comfortable.

Home will change without me, and that’s okay.

For now, home is a crummy apartment, the Grundle, the Davis Center and the third floor of the library.

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