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Home Is Not A Place

July 16, 2021

There’s no place like home. Home is where the heart is. Home sweet home. Honey, I’m home. You’ll always find your way back home. Home alone. We have heard just about every possible sentence or phrase that talks about home. I am sure there are even more phrases that come to mind for others. Most of us would say we have a home in some sense of the word, whether that is a physical structure, an emotional feeling, or the people around us. But what is “home” really?

The dictionary has many definitions of the word that range from a literal house to sports terminology. Of the seventeen meanings I came across, none of them seemed to truly encompass what I think “home” means. So I decided to combine a few and add some personal spice to create my own definition.

home /hohm/ n. a familiar environment that serves as a place of refuge and retreat where one feels most comfortable

My family is currently building a house of which the current state is a bunch of wood nailed together. That doesn’t sound like much of a home. We tried to start the affair in August of 2017, but it was not the right time. Eventually, we sold and moved out of my childhood home in May of 2020. Surprisingly, that was just a house that we said goodbye to, despite my entire two decades of existence being spent there. We moved immediately into a rental house roughly three minutes away. Contrary to my family’s feelings, I liked it there. It did the job, I liked my room and felt that we could comfortably stay there for as long as we had to.

But then… we were moving again. We spent just over a year in the first rental before we were having to move out. This should have been exciting. It was finally time to move into our brand-new forever home! Only, it is not finished yet, so we moved into a new rental. We can only hope this is our last rental before moving one last time. During the whole moving process (3 houses and counting), I was also moving in and out of college for two years. Right when I started to feel comfortable in my college environment, the pandemic shut down the school and sent us away.  

I know that six moves in two years is small compared to some military kid experiences, especially considering four of those moves were college-related. However I still think there is a relatable message for anyone who has moved around before, including some soon-to-be college kids moving into dorms for the first time. Throughout the house-jumping journey I have found myself on, I came to realize a fundamental truth of life: human beings crave a sense of belonging. I am talking about more than just the “fitting in” concept. No matter where (geographically or mentally) in life we find ourselves, we want to feel like we belong. We want to feel safe.

That feeling of safety and comfort is what makes us truly feel “at home” and it can be a hard thing to find. Finding a space where you fully enjoy just existing, while simultaneously having a sense of peace and purpose is pretty high on the list of things we all want in life. So much change can be hard, so it is important to have at least one constant. Throughout each move, I realized my constants: my family and friends. No matter where I went, I had my people. This served as a persistent reminder that these people are my home.

Ultimately, a home is a different idea for each individual person. To me it is a familiar environment that serves as a place of refuge and retreat where I feel most comfortable. A home is not a place, it’s a feeling. It is important to find that feeling wherever you go. I encourage you to ask yourself, “What is home to you?”


Written by: Anna Pender

Anna is a Senior Strategic Communications major. She is thankful to have the opportunity to write for the blog because it gives her a chance to explore and write about topics and events that she is passionate about and that are relevant to the world. She loves getting to be creative and share her personality through writing.