What should going “home” feel like?


January 15, 2023

I just got back to DC after spending my winter break back home in Dubai. Incase you’re new here, I currently live in DC and go to college here, but I grew up in London and then Dubai most recently and that’s really where I still consider home. Also, incase you’re new here, you should know that I love to talk about my feelings and experiences on this blog so get ready for some of that in this post!

This trip back home was kind of different from the previous ones in that this was my first time going home since feeling fully settled out here in DC. Last year when I went home for winter break I was still getting used to life out here in DC so going back to Dubai felt like an escape back to normal life. However, going home this year was different because I feel like I have my life built out here in DC so going back to Dubai felt more like a relaxing vacation and escape from reality rather than a return to my regular life. It’s kind of a subtle transition in that last year going back home to Dubai felt like returning back to my real life but this year going back to Dubai felt like leaving my real life and taking a three week break. I guess it’s a healthy change because slowly over time DC has started to feel like home, but it just got me thinking about what going back home to Dubai should actually feel like.

At this point, 2 years after graduating from high school and moving, should home life or college life feel temporary or like real life? Should going home feel like a return to real life after a little stint at college or should going home feel like a little break away from your real life at college?

Well, I think it depends a lot on where you’re at with your college experience. I think that last year when I went home for winter break I was still settling into college and I didn’t feel very comfortable at Georgetown so it was normal to feel like going back to Dubai was going back to my real life – college didn’t feel real or permanent if that makes sense. But this year, now that I have my life built out in DC, this feels real and permanent and going back to Dubai felt like such a nice break from normal life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy going home anymore, I very much do! There’s nothing like going back to a familiar place and being taken care of for a while and spending time with people you care about. However, I think the difference is that I no longer rely on Dubai to be my whole world and I don’t rely on my friendships there to be my whole life.

It’s the natural passage of time when you move away from home to make new relationships in your new place and have your old relationships take on a new form. Obviously you’re not living around the corner from your high school best friend and seeing the same faces in the hallway at school anymore. It’s something that makes me a bit sad to think about because sometimes I miss that but it’s also just a phase of life; your relationships take on a different form in each phase of life. For example, I still feel just as close to my high school friends even though I maybe see them twice a year now – it’s just a different version of the same relationship.

However, I think where we sometimes trip up is when we try and hold onto the exact same relationships when we’re not in that same phase of life anymore. I think when we go to college still thinking that our main relationships are back home and the ones we make out here at college are sort of temporary and meant to be “just for college” we run into issues. I know so many people from my high school who go home during the breaks and for them, going back to those friends is a return to their actual life; they’ve clung onto high school and refused to let the natural passage of time whisk them along to different friendships. I think this is one of those times when refusing to let go of the past can limit the new experience you have at college.

I think this idea holds not just when looking at relationships. I think when we think of college as just a temporary phase of life and don’t fully lean into building out a life there, we miss out those natural changes that come with growing up moving into the next phase of life. And I don’t think that this has a specific formula or way it should look like. It doesn’t mean that you can’t go home every weekend, it doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to your friends from home everyday, and it doesn’t mean that you throw yourself into every opportunity at college. No, I think that it just means that you adopt the mindset that you fully embrace college life and what it has to offer. It might take a long time or a really short time for that shift in what feels like real life and temporary life to occur, but I think the main idea here is that you embrace a new life and don’t let the idea of your life back home limit what you do at college.

That’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately as I’m going through all these shifts for myself. Let me know what you think in the comments!

See you next week,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *