Over the course of your four years at college, you lived with a variety of roommates and friends. You probably made the magical upgrade from a twin bed to a full, and eventually, you learned living without a meal plan was a lot harder than expected.
College is not home at first; your campus is a playground your first year.
The dining hall was where you sat with your new friends, watching "Hitch" in the common room. The college ambassador formal at the student center is where you kissed the boy you hooked up with on and off for the next four years.
Living on campus as an underclassman was fun, but you definitely looked forward to heading back to your hometown for some warm home-cooked meals during holiday breaks.
As the years passed by, your college campus became worn in. By the time sophomore year rolled around, you were more at ease with the campus.
You knew the shower with the best water pressure, the quickest way to get from the nursing school building to the liberal arts hall and how to avoid running into everyone and anyone while getting coffee in the student center.
As you transformed from college freshman to sophomore, junior and senior, your college campus transformed from a playground to a familiar place and, eventually, to your home.
Two years out and 100 miles away, and I still feel the most at home when I am on my alma mater’s campus right outside of Philadelphia.
Don’t get me wrong; New York City is a pretty amazing place to live, but it’s just not home in the way college was.
New York doesn’t have the hundreds of faces I knew so well each time I walked from my senior seminar class to Irish literature. It doesn’t smell the same way in the fall as it did when I sat on the field, star gazing with friends.
It took time and experience, but college eventually became home.
There is no stranger feeling than going back to your college campus for the first time after graduating. You are no longer surrounded by people you know. Instead, you walk by people who are noticeably younger than you.
The walk is familiar, the bells still ring precisely at noon, but it’s different. You’re different.
Once you get over the initial shock of having different people walking the same path you used to when you were 19, you eventually realize that while the people change, the school will always be the same.
Whether you’re taking your younger brother on a tour or just visiting an old professor during the summer, walking through campus as an alum is like being reunited with an old friend.
The minute you walk through the gates, you immediately forget about your “adult world.”
You forget you wake up each day at 5:30 to get on the subway, or that you have to pay your credit card bill by the end of the month.
The stresses of our lives disappear, even if it only lasts for a few moments. We are transported back to the place we called home for four years. Memories that warm our hearts are instantly transported back into our minds, as we peruse the campus that changed our lives.
College isn’t the place we called home; it is home.
Although we’re over our frat party days, long nights spent on campus chugging Twisted Teas in our freshman dorm rooms and dressing up for Halloween parties, our college will always be the place we feel the most comfortable.
Our college campuses know the most about us.
If our college were a person, she would know all of our secrets. She knows when we skipped class after an all-nighter; she knows when we used to bum a cigarette off our friend after an intense test; she knows when we used to go on coffee dates with the boy we met in the library's 24-hour lounge senior year.
We trust our campus because for four years, she held us in her arms, allowing us to grow in the individuals we are today.
Our college campus holds secrets from the past; they are time capsules of our richest memories.
Our college campus will never be just a place we used to live.
No matter how far we live now, or how different our day-to-day routines are from when we were undergraduates, college will forever be the place we call home.
It will always be the place we love visiting the most.