Creating a home away from home


Danielle Hart, Staff Writer

When it comes to choosing a college, there are many deciding factors. One of such decisions is whether you want to stay close to home or travel outside the familiarity of your native state. Personally, I knew I wanted to go to college somewhere in between my aunt in Massachusetts, the rest of my family in New Jersey. It was difficult to choose a school, but here in Hartford, it was the perfect inbetween for me. The University of Hartford is far enough from my home (about three hours drive), which allows me to feel like I am “away” at school.  This provides me with the freedom to make my own choices and grow as a person, which I never really got living with my family at home.

Although I do enjoy the independence of being away, sometimes being at school can feel like home is a million miles away. My freshman year, I felt homesick every weekend because all of my friends at school who were in-state, would go home, while for me being out of state, I obviously could not make that trek home as my friends did. Where I live in New Jersey, it takes about three hours by car and about seven hours by bus and train, not to mention the amount of money I would need to spend on public transportation. For everyone who lives in Connecticut, it is easier to travel home because it is so close. Whether it is 15 minutes or even an hour, it seems like going home for in-state students is a luxury that us out-of-staters cannot enjoy.

I interviewed a few students both in and out of state, to give us some perspective on how others feel about being from outside of Connecticut, versus in-state.

When asked “What are some ways you make school feel like home?” Jarett Serrano, a junior business management major from Middletown, New York said, “I made friends so I always had things to do, so I wasn’t thinking about home all the time. I didn’t really make school feel like home, but I looked at it as a new chapter in my life where I made it a new place instead.”

He also stated, “The reason I chose Hartford was because I wanted to leave home, and experience something different outside of my home state. Hartford was the most affordable for my family as well so that’s how I ended up here.”

Emily Steele, a junior pre-physical therapy from Portland, Oregon has to travel all the way across the country to study at the University of Hartford.

She expressed her feelings on the topic by saying, “I rarely get homesick. I think it is mainly because I am apart of a team. They keep my very busy that I don’t have much time to think about home. I have them to count on as a family.”

As a key player on the Hartford Women’s Lacrosse team, she keeps herself busy with practices, games, and studying with her team, as well as other club activities, such as her involvement in the Asian Student Association. When asked the same question, how she makes school feel like home, she continued saying, “I’m not a huge fan of pictures in my room so I have a lot of art pieces and trinkets that remind me of home. I also make sure to check in with my family and friends and give them long updates about everything going on at school!”

I also wanted to get an opinion from someone who lives in-state and goes to UHart.  Madison Osakowicz, a junior pre-med major from Southington, Connecticut said, “ I like it because I can always go home whenever I want. I know that I have a family I can rely on and I can travel back home to see them.”

“I decorated my room, so it made me feel as though I had some place to call my own at school as well.” Madison added.

It seems so easy for someone so close to the University of Hartford to just go home whenever they want.  Even for those from the surrounding New England area, it isn’t hard to find ways to get home through the use of public transportation and carpooling.  However, for those like me who are three hours or further away from campus, visiting home during the semester is very difficult.

However, based on answers from my peers, it seems as though making the University of Hartford feel like home is not that difficult. Finding good friends, and being involved in student activities can make it feel as though you have a second family right here on campus.  Bringing sentimental items from home can also be essential, no matter you are from, to keep your home close to your thoughts. I hope that those of you reading this are able to not only keep your homes close to your heart while you are away, but also that you are able to create a home away from home, here, at the University of Hartford.