January 28, 2022 | By Karly Hamilton | Illustration by Patil Khakhamian

I’ve always heard the phrase “home is where the heart is,” but didn’t truly understand it until returning from college a few weeks ago. Up until that point, I had thought of where my family lives as home. However, when I went back to see my parents and brother over break, I realized it felt more like a temporary visit than a homecoming.

This made me wonder—what defines the place we view as home? Is it about an environment we feel comfortable in, the people we’re surrounded by, or something else altogether?

As this Atlantic article explains, a person’s location can have a substantial impact on their lifestyle, demonstrating that the place we call home is more than just a geographic location.

For example, when I’m at home in Boston, I spend more time inside during the winter months, and my physical activity is more limited than when I’m in Colorado. However, when I’m here on campus, I spend far more time outside because the weather is better and outdoor activities are much more accessible.

Home isn’t just a place, it’s also a mindset. To some, home is the place where they can be the most authentic version of themselves. By this definition, while Boston is where my childhood memories, family, and friends reside, it’s no longer where I am the most me—Colorado is.

I remember my Priddy leaders talking about visiting family after their first semester at CC. To them, their return marked a shift in how they viewed life on-campus. They mentioned that going back to visit family and friends solidified the community they had built at CC because they looked forward to returning to the life they were starting to build here.

In a Correspondent article, the author describes home as a place where one feels safe and comfortable. Nothing in this definition ties the concept to a particular location, nor does it specify how many places can feel like home to an individual. The article goes on to draw attention to the emotional associations one has with their home.

Adopting this point of view, I would say I have multiple homes. I have an emotional association with the house I spent many of my formative years in, especially due to all the memories I have in that house. However, my day-to-day life is based here, so I think of Colorado Springs as another version of home—just in a different way.

Ironically, I think of Boston as home when I’m on campus, and I think of Colorado as home when I’m back in Boston. Maybe it’s wanting what I can’t have, or maybe I’m just a first-year student adjusting to what it means to have ties to different places. Regardless, these conflicting feelings cause me to think more intentionally about where I am and what the location means to me.

Life is full of transitions. Leaving home for college is a major one in many people’s lives. It’s normal for perspectives to change during transition periods, especially one as major as starting college. I don’t view my confusion about where to call home as a bad thing, but instead a sign of growth.

Colorado College is a new environment to me, full of new people, experiences, and learning opportunities. I am lucky enough to feel like campus is a second home to me, and I hope my peers feel the same way. Finding a new perspective can take a moment to adjust to, but when it comes to places where we feel safe and comfortable, the more the merrier!

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