A new kind of home for the holidays

home for the holidays. Pixabay user jill111

It’s a given: everyone wants to be home for the holidays. The media depict people racing and rushing through traffic to make it back home, while others wait for their significant others under the mistletoe. The season’s most popular schema is a loving family huddled together a living room by a fire and an oversized Christmas tree, menorah or other festive symbol to represent this special time.

However, as a college student, being at school for a large portion of this jolly time of year can feel a little different. Your family is not around to bake holiday cookies with you or to bring you hot chocolate. You can’t walk outside to be welcomed by a snowy, winter wonderland.

For many students, the holiday season was always celebrated at home with friends and family – that is, before college. Now that we spend a significant portion of this season at school – even more so because of Hurricane Irma – how does this affect one’s views on the “home for the holidays” tradition?

It’s strange becoming an adult and realizing that you’re going to have to achieve that sense of “home” in a whole new place. I have been dealing with this realization for a while, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I went to boarding school throughout high school, so a large portion of the holiday season was spent away from home. When you live and develop relationships in a new community, it becomes your home as well. You come to foster a new sense of family and belonging.

My roommate and I have decorated our room to celebrate the holidays, and friends and I are planning on doing a Secret Santa gift swap. We are all here to support each other. If you do not feel that you have established a strong enough sense of home here yet, go reach out to those around you. Engage within your community, whether it be your floor in your dorm or the larger Miami community. Go to holiday-themed events to meet some new friendly faces. There are countless community-wide activities, such as gingerbread decorating events in the dorms, which can make your holiday experience at college a lot more welcoming and warm.

We are all growing up, and as this happens we make homes for ourselves, meet important people in our lives and find new senses of belonging. So whenever you are down about having a shortened time in your hometown for the holidays, remember that you have a home and a huge family, all in the same position as you, here at the U.

Alexandra Aiello is a freshman at the University of Miami.

Featured photo courtesy pixabay user jill111.