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For those who still haven’t quite mentally prepared themselves for adulthood yet (read: me), this could be quite a jostling thought: where exactly is home now?

Prior to coming to Cornell, I was so caught up in the frenzy of excitement and eagerness to explore the newfound limits of college and independence that I never stopped to consider the consequences of the transition: once I moved out, would my definition of “home” change? Sure, home is where my family is, but even my trips to California during breaks are merely “visits” now. Many times I’ve caught myself telling my friends “I’m going home now!” when I’m really about to trek back to North. Have I begun to think of my dingy little dorm, and even Cornell, as my home?

Honestly, the entirety of my day to day life is contained within Cornell’s campus; my busy little bubble of friends, activities, and memories has migrated across the US from my high school life in California to here. As I eagerly bound forward in my college career, I can’t help but feel bittersweet. Every step forward is one step closer to true independence, but also one away from my old life. Looking back, the moment I packed my bags and stepped foot on Cornell’s campus, I would never be the same. As much as I want to keep in touch and share my new experiences with the people back at home, my recounts become less detailed and more sporadic as I become fully immersed in college life. Every time I FaceTime my mom to tell her about some nuanced portion  of my day, I’m always left with a twinge of sadness as my excited chatters become chopped up by her “Wait, so who is that?” and “What does that [acronym] stand for?” It has opened my eyes to the fact that we might no longer be living in parallel, and that I am going to have to rely a lot more on myself. It’s a bit daunting, to say the least, to realize that I really am beginning to walk down a divergent path; adulthood is quickly manifesting as a reality.

Though hard to believe at this moment, many have told me that these four years will be gone in the blink of an eye. Immediately after comes job hunting or grad school, eventually immersing myself in work, and finding a new home. As I’ve come to understand that my home will change over time, I’ve realized the importance of spending time with those I cherish, maintaining a thread of connection as we all start to slowly drift into our separate worlds. I’m now more willing to allocate a chunk of time to FaceTime my family, or even skip a few days of class to visit home, simply because I know that these times are becoming more rare, and I want to cherish every moment I can with my loved ones. While the physical definition of home may be ever-shifting, the memories and ties with my family will be forever locked down, unbudging in my heart.

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