Coming from Kansas City, Fort Collins and Colorado State University were a refreshing change from the comfortable, Midwestern town where I spent my first 18 years. As my high school days were ending, I continued to feel suffocated by my never-changing hometown, where many people seemed to be stuck, rarely venturing outside their comfort zones. I felt that I was meant to be elsewhere, especially the scenic and adventurous state of Colorado, and Kansas City was not meant for me.
Freshman year was an exciting adjustment full of new opportunities, cultural change and independence. I experienced homesickness on only one occasion and I rarely thought about the happenings of my hometown. Breaks were lengthy. I spent most of them anticipating my return to Fort Collins and reuniting with friends.
Fort Collins was my new home. It got to the point where I would call it “home” in front of my mom and she would correct me by saying that Kansas City is home.
Sophomore year rolled around and my perspective on Kansas City began to shift from the trap of a town I had once considered it to a refuge. The sophomore slump became very real and college was no longer the exciting adventure it once was and motivation to excel was lacking. Stress had reached new levels and my self-care had taken a back seat. The comforts of home were increasingly on my mind and I missed my friends and family more than I had before.
New appreciation for my hometown was forming and I looked in excitement to visits home. I am staying in Fort Collins this summer, but looking to reap the benefits of the one week I will be spending in Kansas City after final exams. I will take advantage of visits with friends, a fully stocked fridge, Royals games, barbecue and family time.
Although I am in love with Fort Collins and consider myself to be lucky to live here, an appreciation for my hometown and everything that comes with it has developed during my time away from it. As of now, I do not see myself returning and living permanently in Kansas City in the future. Because of this, the benefits of home seem more appealing. I no longer see the unfavorable qualities of this town that I once had.
There is comfort in knowing that home will always be there to welcome you back or catch you if you fall.
Collegian Interactive News Team member Kathleen Keaveny can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @katkeaveny.