Saturday, May 25, 2024

A Home Away From Home

By Lea Katrina P. Cañizares | October 8, 2022

As young adults, leaving the comfort of one’s childhood home is a point in life that not all may want to find themselves in. To most, it begins when they start building their own families. To others, it starts when they enter adulthood. But to a common majority, it begins in student life, especially when the student finds themselves in a school far away from their homes. 

Moving into a dorm can be one of the biggest transitions a student can experience. It is a given that going off to a college away from home can both be an overwhelming and exciting experience at the same time. This experience means venturing onto a new path—being away from family, friends, and the things one has been accustomed to—and most especially, drifting away from the place called “home.” Not only will it be the first time one will be living away from home, but it can also be the first time having a new set of duties and sharing a room with practical strangers.  

Long-lasting friendships, a sense of campus community, and a conducive environment for learning are just a few of the advantages of dorm life, which has reinforced its status as a quintessential element of the “real college experience.” Still, embarking on a new adventure comes with challenges that one must embrace. Carrying and unloading massive bags and luggage, seeing the hallways packed with unfamiliar faces, and getting settled into what will soon be a home away from home are among the few things a dormer has to confront silently. Most dormers are used to living in their houses with their families and personal spaces. Hence, trying to acclimate to a new environment might take a lot of patience as they try to embrace constant bouts of change. 

Regardless of the idea of being liberated and the excitement for a new adventure that awaits, homesickness is also quite prevalent in dormitory life. Understandably, it is a perfectly normal response to being separated from one’s family and home. The longing for the presence of one’s family and for the place they grew up in is a feeling that may envelops them with nostalgia—like the home-cooked hearty meals served at the table, the quick stroll around the neighborhood, the comfort from their favorite spots at home, and being surrounded by their loved ones. 

Drastic lifestyle changes are inevitable for those living away from home for the first time. However, this experience in itself can foster holistic development. Many people consider living in the college dorm to be a rite of passage into adulthood as dormers discover more about themselves and their capabilities. More to that, they are presented with a chance to establish social relationships with other people with similar experiences.   

As a dormer, Glorynjul Alapan shared that she had the chance to come across a wide range of personalities in the dorm—some pleasant and some not—but just by residing with other university students, it enabled her to expand her network of acquaintances and enrich her life with newfound bonds. For Karylle Jed Dumanglas, dormitory life has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions for her. Being away for the first time has made her learn to become more reliant on herself. “With dormitory living, students will meet people from various walks of life who are yet to change their lives for the better in ways they do not know yet,” she shared. Julianne Rissa, another dormer, shared that the transitions of dorm life can be eased by combining great opportunities for independence and fun with assured security and accessibility to the university’s campus. 

From the perspective of a student who has been living in the dorm for two years, Alyssa Glorydale Algo shared that dorm life has been a safe haven for her. “Dormitory living allows students to build lasting friendships,” she expressed. Regardless of the longingness she felt from being away from her family, dorm mates are present to provide comfort. When one gets home, they will be greeted by people who will share nearly everything with them, assist them with their responsibilities, and take them to restaurants. The bonds fostered with dorm mates and dorm managers is one that is beyond compare and is bound to stretch even after college years.  

From a distance, dorm life may appear daunting—most especially if it is the first time. But once given a chance to get settled in, that is when the adventure towards adulthood truly begins. Shying away from familiarity may be terrifying at times, but it provides a real avenue for growth—one that is bound to leave an impression on one’s life forever.

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