It’s okay to not want to go home in college

Kenia Ortiz

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

It is the beginning of the spring semester and while many students are excited either to start class or see friends again, there are students who are happy to be back to the only place that they call home.

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The college experience encompasses the feelings of independence and responsibility while learning through experiences of trial and error.

Many students also find themselves seeing the world in a new way, creating a drift between family members and former friends.

According to Chadron State College, more than 11 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the past year and more than 10 percent reported being diagnosed or treated for depression.

While it is nice to have a month long break and get to relax, it is important to be aware that that is not the case for every student at Colorado State University. While one student may be upset to be back to school, another student may be eager to return because this is the only place they feel accepted.

When a student comes to college, they meet people with different sexual, racial and religious backgrounds. They will interact with people who either have same or different ideologies. With this comes both feelings of acceptance and rejection.

From these interactions, a student begins to form their own identity and either sticks to their current values or begins to make some adjustments.

In majority of universities, there are centers/groups that a support different kinds of students. These centers allow students to have  a safe space for themselves, whereas they may not have that safe space at home.

There are roughly 155 universities in the United States that have LGBTQ centers which provide services for members of the LGBTQ community. Universities also have diversity offices. The Student Diversity Programs and Services at CSU focus on supporting and providing a safe space for marginalized identities and occupations such as, but are not limited to, veterans, race, gender, sexual orientation and students with disabilities.

Because of these offices, many students feel accepted and either begin or continue to express who they really are in college. When some students return home, many have to hide who they are or have become in order to avoid conflict. 

Home is no longer home.

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There are students who have to return to dysfunctional and toxic families. Some students return to families that deal with addiction, violence, exploitation or over-bearing parents.

When I came to college, my first semester involved educating myself on social issues, on my privileged and marginalized identities and surrounding myself with people who were doing the same. I unlearned and let go of many values I came to college with.

Home is no longer home.

I grew up in a household who’s culture has deep rooted homophobia, sexism and racism. During winter break of my freshman year, I realized that I no longer found homophobic jokes funny or tolerated racist remarks and toxic masculinity.

Through this, my family and I began to fight. I found myself not being able to hold a conversation with old friends. What used to be home to me now felt like a completely different world.

Over time, I was lucky enough to better my relationship with my family. For a long time I did not go back home and I can say that during that time, I felt completely alone.

This, along with other toxic and dysfunctional family situations, can lead to higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

I believe I speak for many in the CSU community when I say, welcome back home Rams.

Kenia Ortiz can be reached at letters@collegian.com or online at @Kenia_Ortiz_