Oh, the Places You’ll Go

By Kyra Hudson, Staff Writer

I hate moving, confining myself to some suitcases and boxes, my mark left on all of these different places, having to take all of myself and move somewhere else. I like the security of having a permanent place to stay, torn because I love my family and my friends.

For the past three years, I have taken almost all of my belongings, shoved them into two suitcases and two boxes, along with my pillow and mattress topper and hauled them into the car with my dad to make the five-hour venture from Chicago to Cincinnati. Each year I seem to not have enough space for the things I want to bring, along with the reality that the boxes I fill are always heavier than I remember. The act of taking all of my clothes, accessories and room decorations out of my childhood bedroom each year, the small details of my life that define my personality, and seeing them confined to these two suitcases and boxes is an awful, overwhelming feeling that I never knew I would experience when moving to college. 

Granted, I am a relatively sentimental person who often attaches meaning to most of the items that I own. However, the way that moving away to college has been promoted is the emphasis of the simultaneous feelings of excitement and bittersweet nostalgia. There are the unavoidable feelings of homesickness when incoming students leave their home, a place where they have potentially lived in for many years, nurtured by loving family and friends. Then, enter the new-found independence that a student receives as they begin their adventure through college. With no parental control and the ability to eat cereal and pizza whenever you want, intended to be a perfect scenario for any 18-year-old. Though new beginnings can be exciting, the unforeseen challenges that students face while starting the process of moving to college can supersede the idyllic expectations that universities tend to advertise. 

The challenge of moving to and from college that many other students and I have endured throughout these past few years is the first hurdle. Recognizing that you are moving all of the items that you have deemed to have importance in your life out of the place where they have sat, potentially for years. You have grown and different versions of yourself have developed from the journey of life, love, and loss and along the way have allowed for these items to accumulate a level of meaning, as something gains value through experiences. However, an unforeseen factor that is not mentioned in any college pamphlet discussing the process of moving is the sudden realization that you are taking these things out of the place that gives them meaning and into a dusty suitcase to travel hundreds of miles to then be put in a blank dorm with no initial value. 

Amidst these challenges, colleges should include more events and suggestions for students that experience this initial feeling of homesickness. The simple recognition that many students feel this overwhelming anxiety when packing up for school each year could contribute to making the transition into each school year easier. There should be an emphasis on the redirection of focus from where the students are coming from, to where are going with their future and the opportunities they will be able to participate in and build new memories and meaning.