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Last updateFri, 17 Nov 2017 9pm

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Students Give Thanks to Change: How Have Freshmen Grown While Away From Home?

freshmanMany students, particularly freshman, have changed and grown in their time here at college. Freshman arrived two and a half months ago and have since fully experienced a portion of the college experience. Living on your own, being responsible for all your work, with no one to tell you to do your homework or study for a test, living in a dorm allows students to be in charge of their own academic career.

For some, this has been their first extended experience away from home, so for these people and all other students heading home for Thanksgiving, what has changed? What growth and maturation can occur in a student in just a few months' time?

"I think that the independence that students experience would make it a little strange going back to a place with less freedom," said Jamie Goodwin, an instructor of psychology.

Students often find that the most attractive aspect of the college experience is the lack of restrictions and increased freedoms that come with living away from home. Going back to visit family is a wonderful thing, but it will be a testament to a student's growth as an individual to see how they react in returning to that situation. As Goodwin said, students have become used to their own independence and better-rounded as adults in their time away.

Homecoming is an act that has been written about, praised, dreaded and discussed in every other way imaginable. The feeling of returning home can be felt by anyone, regardless of location or following events. It is one of the oldest feelings in the world and, especially for students that didn't go home for fall break, it's perfectly normal to feel a little strange.

"I'm still kind of the same person I was when I got here," said Ian McGuinness, a freshman. "But I feel like I can do more, remind myself to work and stuff like that. My hometown feels bigger somehow when I visit home."

McGuinness makes a good point: this campus has been our home since September, but it is just a campus. Stepping outside of the University and into a town or city can remind one of how they've been living in the months past, among their peers and fellow students. Some seclusion takes place at a university, and stepping back into the "real world" can make oneself look at it through new, matured eyes.

"I think I've grown because I've learned to live on my own away from my family," said Tia Gabriel, a freshman communication major.

The saddest fact about living away from home is just that: the separation from family. That metaphorical cutting of the cord creates more growth than almost anything else. Some students feel homesickness, some grieve, and some revel in their newfound freedom. Some students, like Gabriel, can find themselves at college, with a close-knit friend group to forge new bonds and connections with.

"It's really given me a chance to become independent," continued Gabriel. "I get to make my own decisions and my own choices." She and other students like her are stronger for it.

The greatest part of returning to home and family is the sharing of experiences. It creates a warm feeling of change and maturation to see someone return home stronger. Hearth and home is a special kind of feeling, and it doesn't matter how much or how little you've changed, the act of coming home in itself is what makes it special.

College is a unique experience in the independence and freedom it begets to the student. A person grows while being away from home and it takes a holiday like Thanksgiving to remind us how much we've grown and matured in our time away, and how much of home we didn't even know we missed. Despite our differences in growth and background, there's something we all love about returning home to our family and taking a seat at the table a little bit taller.

IMAGE TAKEN from collegechoice.net

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Monmouth University
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