All of my life I have judged distance by hours, and not necessarily by a measurement in miles. So for me to tell you that I live 8 hours from LMU might seem incredibly clear to me, but to those who do not think the way I do it may not be. I live 356 miles away. Memphis, Tenn., was the last place my father was stationed in the US Navy, and it is also where my older sister Kristianne and I graduated from high school. Before Memphis, I lived in London, England, and my life was incredibly different. The culture shock of living in Memphis hit me harder than I could probably explain. Living in England in a military lifestyle taught me that everyone was different, and that was okay! In Memphis, I was different, and that made me feel detached from most of my peers. Once a friend asked me if I had seen the Coliseum, meaning the football arena, to which I told him yes the one in Italy, which left both of us confused but laughing.
I always knew that I would go to college, but once I entered high school in Memphis I realized that I wanted a college experience where I felt like I did in England. I knew that I should not go to school in Memphis because the bad feelings lingered. Luckily for me, I found LMU, and on my first visit here I realized that this was where I needed to get my education. The mountains and hills that surround the campus reminded me of England, and the cold air felt familiar. I felt that going to LMU would be the best decision I had made up until then, and I could not see any negatives. The only thing that I did not count on, and it hit me pretty hard, was being homesick and not being able to do anything about it. Homesickness tends to hit me the hardest when my friends’ parents come up to school to visit them; it is not easy for my parents to make the trip out here.
The majority of friends I have at LMU live two hours away or less, and they have the luxury of going home pretty much whenever they please. I’ve also noticed that these are the friends who go home practically every weekend, and if they do not go home, they start changing attitudes and become sad and lonely. To be honest, I generally have no sympathies for people who live closer that get homesick; they can easily alleviate that feeling, whereas I cannot. I go home four times a year: thanksgiving break, winter break, spring break, and then for summer. During the school year when I see my family, I like to treat it like a special occasion, because for me that is exactly what it is. My family has visited me at school only twice in my 4 years here: once when I was in the LMU theater production of Rapunzel, Rapunzel Let Down Your Heir, and again when the volleyball team celebrated senior night. When I get homesick, I can always call home or Skype, but it is not the same as hug from my mom or dad. LMU is not just my school, it is my home away from home; it is where I spend the majority of my year. It’s a scary thought for me that in May I will be saying goodbye. But alas, I have over three months left, and there are still so many exciting things to do here, especially on the weekends when everyone goes home.
To the students whom go home every weekend, I would like to proposition that you stay on campus one weekend and do some of the things I do. For instance, I really enjoy playing games, whether it be board, card, or otherwise. One of my favorite games from my childhood is four-square. On the weekends (when the parking lots are practically empty), my friends and I go get chalk and a rubber ball and play four-square. Another thing we do is build forts in our rooms and watch movies in our forts. These examples sound childish, but re-enacting a time where things were less stressful and serious makes things more fun and the distance seem a little smaller.
I know that many students who go home every weekend think that there is little to do here on the weekends, but I just don’t agree with them. Also, to those whom go home every weekend because the homesickness is too much for you, I want you to know this: while I might not be sensitive to your feelings, it is only because I am jealous. I do not have the same ability as you to go home whenever I can.
Choosing LMU was the right decision, but it was a tough one make; it meant being so far away from my family. However, I have never doubted my decision to be a Railsplitter, and I never will!
Leave me a comment about where you live, and what it is like to travel to school. Or leave me a comment if you want to hang out with me over the weekends (my answer is yes!)