A home from home

Violet columnist Lily Ford considers the concept of home and a ‘home away from home’

Lily Ford

lily ford

“There’s no place like home.” Is this true? Is it impossible to feel at home in a place that not only can’t match the gloriously intimate relationship between you and your own bed, but also the pure joy to flood your body upon spying the wagging tail of your dog after a long day? And if untrue, could university ever be the setting to challenge our preconceived ideas of domestic comfort?

To put this into more engaging, Sex and the City terms, should we allow ourselves to indulge in a physical affair with the utter contentment of university, when our hearts lie at home? University: the wild party animal, offering a rather sexy air of unpredictability and social intrigue versus our childhood sweetheart who so lovingly helped us through our first relationship or important exam. The love triangle a student will never see coming.

The conflict of emotions regarding work whilst being at home is one that never ceases to unsettle me. Sure – you may just want to spend the whole afternoon playing Mario Kart but what about that essay due in on Friday? And as soon as you do make the commitment to family and start to unwind, the burden of falling behind on work takes a swinging boot to the gut and you’re left feeling guilty as Mum tries to swoop in and nab Piccadilly for £440m.

“Don’t get me wrong – I love coming home from university. I mean, really love it. There’s no feeling like sinking into your first bubble bath in eight weeks”

Don’t get me wrong – I love coming home from university. I mean, really love it. There’s no feeling like sinking into your first bubble bath in eight weeks, or walking past the pub and recalling the fond memories of sipping at your first, legal, 18th-birthday bevvy. It’s the small things such as waking up to your family; the sheer excitement of ordering from the local takeaway who does the special naan bread like no one else does; knowing your sister will fetch you the perfect cup of tea when you’re making up for lost time and have been lying on the living room floor with the dog for two hours straight. This column has done nothing so far except made it look like I harass my dog and only go home to demand food from various people. I swear, this is only half true.

And just as you’re sitting in blissful peace... you make the mistake of watching a snapchat story or spotting an Instagram that brings with it our faithful old friend, FOMO. FOMO is that one person who always manages to crash the party. And boy, am I a sucker to the mind-games of the fear of missing out. My friends could be watching High School Musical 3 and I’d be on the other end of the phone singing A Night to Remember just to settle my envy that tiny bit.

With this thought, then, I can’t help but ask myself: is it university itself, or the people there that I miss? Perhaps it is the unsatisfying silence of my bedroom at home when I am so used to hearing the sweet Irish tones of my friend’s voice from along the corridor, coming to knock on my door to the rhythm of Africa by Toto. Perhaps it isn’t the fairy lights hung up in my room, nor the photos on my pin board that makes university feel so cosy, but the friends across the hall that keep me from missing home just that bit too much. I’m starting to think I can wait a few more weeks for the garlic and cheese naan from up the road.


Mountain View

The fresher extracurricular pressure

I’m also well aware that not everyone has found a second home at university, just as others may not consider their out-of-term address a home. This is perfectly okay too – because it reinforces my point that sometimes home isn’t a place, but a person. If you’re lucky enough to have people around who can give you warmth like a house could – or maybe couldn’t – be thankful to have found them. Sure – a cup of hot chocolate or a spoon with your mate won’t stop you missing Mum and Dad (and the dogs, NEVER forget the dogs), but it quashes that nagging homesickness a little bit.

So, what am I saying of this whirlwind affair? Who should we, as the protagonists, choose in our love story – the party animal or childhood sweetheart? Hell, why not both?