Oct 102011
 
Authors: Emily Kribs, Libby Williams

Emily Kribs, freshman
Someone once said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and less original folks have since adopted this phrase and beaten it to death.

While this grim metaphor is probably something for social services to look into, the proverb retains a degree of truth. My primary example would be the fact that whenever my parents call or my brothers fire me a text, I’m much more willing to humor them now, after a few months away, than I was back in August.

That’s not to say I have the patience I had four years ago, back when I had my entire high school career ahead of me. These days, there’s only so many ways to answer the question, “How’s college?” after all, and most of them are not very interesting when explained to a third party.

I understand that, after 18 years of being able to see me whenever they wanted, my absence probably requires some getting used to. I’ve done my part to make it easier, with the fact I was rarely home over the summer to begin with, not to mention (I’m almost ashamed to admit) I can get pretty testy during calls home.

I know some of my fellow freshmen have had trouble with homesickness, and I can’t say I hold it against them. I sympathize with those who come from out of state, who don’t even have a familiar landscape to anchor them. I suspect a mere two-hour separation from my family could be responsible for my utter apathy to the same division that reduced some of my classmates to tears in the first week.

Sure, there are some things I like better about living with my parents. The food’s better, for one thing. And while my roommate has proven herself to be not only tolerable, but a cool person to live with, there’s something to be said about a of room of my own… even if my dad assumed I was “up to something” every time the door was halfway shut, and my brother dropped in for a visit every time the door was halfway open.

And yeah, all right, my family’s OK. My siblings can be funny sometimes. My dad, class “A” dork that he is, is always willing to talk sci-fi with me. And my mom shares my enthusiastic word-nerdery. Heck, one might go so far as to say that I love them.

Of course, a column dedicated to them guarantees my whole family will read it. So here’s to hoping I did an adequate job of toeing the line between interesting to read and homeless.

Libby Williams, senior

As a freshman, I was that kid who got infected with homesickness. I went out of state to junior college, and found myself stranded in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming on a campus of 1,500 students … and let’s just say, Wyoming isn’t Colorado.

I spent a few weekends sobbing in my dorm room, I made too many calls to my parents and I took too many eight-hour trips back home.

Maybe it stems from growing up in a tight-knit community where you knew everybody, their parents and their dog. But after that first semester was over, things got easier. I have to say, though, being in college has a way of changing family dynamics.

I left a 12-year-old brother at home when I made the trek to college. Every year I’ve gone back, I’ve liked the kid more. He’s less annoying, more funny and has some talents that I can really appreciate.

And, I’ve decided that my parents love me more every year that I’m away. They are more willing to do stuff for me since I’m no longer a leach, sucking them dry of money for fuel or food.

Now, I wish I had the stability of living with my parents again. Like Emily said, the food is better (and cheaper), you don’t have to pay rent and you can even ask for gas money.

Although I made the decision to move to desolate Wyoming, to do a summer internship in Indiana and to study abroad in England, I made those decisions to force myself out of my comfort zone.
And I learned that no matter where you are, you can make a family.

In Wyoming, I adopted friends’ families and even spent an Easter hunting eggs at the Boardman’s house. In Indiana, Katie became my family, and I had dinner with her almost every night. And in England, a family emerged from the awesome group of people residing in Block 2.

You can make a family in any part of the world, yet there is nothing like the comfort of home.

Last night at work, a participant at the rehab facility talked about his life before rehab. He was sleeping on benches under four feet of snow last winter, and I asked him if he had family in the area. He told me he’d burned his bridges, and that is why he had no place to call “home.”

Family, no matter if it is blood relatives or the people you find comfort in while you are away, is so important. It provides the support you need as you transition from a kid to a professional.

As long as you never burn bridges, I have a feeling you will never be truly homeless (even if you get testy on those calls home).

 Posted by at 4:46 pm

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