Making a home away from home

No one is going to lie to you and say that moving away from home is easy. Everything you have become so accustomed to for the last 18 plus years changes, and suddenly you are in a foreign place, starting a whole new life
The adjustment leaving my small town in Southern California coming here to Berkeley was made a little bit easier by the fact that my two older siblings had just left the year before. Everything had already changed when they left, so after a full year of being the oldest in the house, I totally thought I was ready to move away from home and be independent. While I definitely was ready, I could have never predicted how hard it was going to be on my own.
There were so many things that I never realized I appreciated so much until I started to live on my own: my mom washing my sheets for me, someone always making sure that I ate meals, and just that warm fuzzy feeling of familiarity. For the first few weeks, I was so homesick that I started to wonder whether I should’ve gone to school closer to home.
However, I was determined to have the amazing college experience so many people talk about, and I knew that it was going to be the decisions I made which affected how the next four years of my life went.
Looking back now, so incredibly happy at this school and feeling truly at home in Berkeley, I can’t believe I ever felt unhappy in this place. I can definitely accredit my change of heart to certain things I did. I joined a sorority, which gave me a literal home to have meals, do laundry, and enjoy the presence of the 150 girls who I got to call my friends. It also gave me so many mentors who were eager and willing to help me find my passion and do well in school. I also found a research position in the Museum of Vertebrae Zoology, an area outside of my major but still something I was extremely passionate about. Anytime I feel stressed, I can go into the MVZ and escape by looking at some of the amazing artifacts which we keep in our collections. Most of all, I think the thing that helped me feel so at home here in Berkeley was finding people who shared similar values as me. They brought a sense of familiarity, while also becoming some of the most important people in my life.
My parents have been calling me out lately for calling Berkeley, “home”, while my town in SoCal is just a trip I make every now and then. I am so happy in this eclectic place called Berkeley, and it is such an important part of my being. It is home.

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Author: Mary Kathryn Larson

Hi! My name is MK Larson and I am currently a sophomore at Cal! I am majoring in Applied Mathematics with a concentration in the Life Sciences. My hometown is Westlake Village, CA, but my favorite place to be is Berkeley:)