By Emily Harris
Elm Staff Writer
Now that all of the returning Washington College students have made it back, ready for a new year and a new semester, it almost feels like we never left. Leaving family behind at home can be tough, but leaving at the end of last semester was almost as hard. Weeks passed before students could be reunited with their best friends here at WC and, as a freshman, I found I was homesick, even though I spent winter break at home. I couldn’t wait to return to campus and spend every second with my best friends and get back into my busy college schedule.
Of course, at home you have parents to do laundry for you when you’re feeling particularly lazy, and there’s no need to stress about homework or exams. At first, these things were huge benefits, but after a while I just got bored. Independence is a huge part of college life, and it usually doesn’t go hand in hand with staying home.
The freedom that comes from a college experience makes school feel like home, because you create your own environment. Students choose exactly how to spend their time, joining clubs, sports teams, sororities or fraternities, among other groups. The ability to spend time with people who share your interests is comforting, and offers you a support system that is like your family, only you actually get to pick them. This independence allows you to set your own goals, rather than following the expectations you grew up with.
Determining what you want from your college experience is an individual decision, one that is a lot easier to make when you feel like you don’t have meet outside standards. Everything you do at WC is your own; rather than being provided with a home and everyone in it, you have to go out and find it.
While campus involvement is a huge part of feeling comfortable, it also helps that most people are here to study whatever it is that they want to do in their lives. Doctor, author, whatever it is, this is where the path to every one of our career destinations begins. Just as we all learned to talk and walk in our homes, our first baby steps towards adult life are being taken here. WC will always be the place where it all started, where students learned what they needed to do to succeed. Mastering psychology or biology might be a little different than learning something as simple as walking, but we take all of these skills from our safe, familiar home environments and out into the real world.
Another comforting, homey aspect of life on campus can be the people you live with. Although this isn’t always the case, some lucky students get to choose their roommates. Being able to decide who shares your living space is a huge bonus, because you already know you like those people. And they probably like you, too.
You never have to worry about judgment, because they’ve probably seen you at your worst and didn’t run for the door. Coming home to your best friends who are full of acceptance is slightly different than coming home to your parents. There’s just as much love, with fewer needling questions. And for many college students, that sounds like home sweet home.