I wrote this piece when I was home in Texas last month.
I’m currently sitting on my parents’ large, brown leather sofa while a small fluffy dog sleeps next to me. I’m home.
I love this place.
I love spending quality time with my family and reconnecting with the sweet hometown that raised me.
I moved 900 miles away from this place for college three years ago, and while I will never regret that decision, I often find myself longing for home.
I miss the people from home who made my life so full. I miss the smell of Carolina Jasmines in my backyard. I miss the tree-canopied streets that I first learned to drive on. I miss everything about home.
But I also love my new home. I love the community I’ve found in college. I love my little house and the independence it gives me. I love finding my way in this world and making a place that is completely mine.
It’s a strange line to walk: loving where you came from and where you are. How do you stay connected to your roots and still dive headfirst into your new life?
Here are my tips:
The best reminder I have of home is my thirteen-year-old truck that belonged to my grandpa before he passed away. It was the first car that was ever completely mine – it took me to school, football games, church and eventually, Tennessee.
My truck reminds me both of Texas and the wonderful grandfather that I lost too early. It’s my favorite earthly possession.
Daily reminders could look different for everyone. Maybe it’s the coffee mug you drink from everyday, or the home state drivers license that still sits in your wallet. Whatever it is, use those daily reminders to produce remembrance and thankfulness.
Work for the relationships you want to keep
When you move far away, some relationships will naturally fade like the traveled road in your rear view mirror. But it’s okay.
Some relationships are meant for certain seasons, and if they aren’t fitting into your new life, don’t try to make them. I’m not telling you to drop all of your childhood friends; however, forcing old relationships to fit into a new mold leaves them strained and disconnected.
There are also some relationships that transcend distance. No matter how far away you are from each other, you will always share a close bond. Instead of spreading yourself too thin trying to maintain every single relationship, identify the ones that transcend the distance, and work to maintain those.
Invest into those people at least weekly, and see them in person whenever you can.
You should also fearlessly pursue new relationships in college. By the end of your four years you will have a full community of lifelong connections.
Cherish every visit home
When you move far away from school, weekend visits home aren’t possible. Instead, we live for the weeklong school breaks and Christmas spent at home.
Cherish these visits.
Use them to rest and reconnect. Spend time with your family, see old friends and hit up your old favorite restaurants. Netflix bingeing and sleeping the day away has it’s place, but you also want to use this time to soak up as much home as you can before school starts again. When you head back, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to jump into college life.
Bring your two worlds together
Last week one of my best friends since fourth grade visited me at school, and it was almost a euphoric experience watching her meet my friends and see my new world for the first time.
I used to think that my two homes would always be separated, but in the past three years I’ve taken roommates and friends home to Texas with me, and had family visit in Tennessee.
When these opportunities present themselves, jump. There’s no experience like introducing the people from your childhood to the new world that you have made for yourself, or showing people from your new home the world that made you who you are.
Moving far from home for college isn’t always easy, but it’s also nothing to be scared of. When done with careful effort, it’s possible to stay connected to home and make a place for yourself in college at the same time.
How do you stay connected to home? Let me know in the comments.
Photos by Haylee Robinson and my iPhone.