Mari Katherine Raftopoulos: Trying to cure homesickness


Some say that homesickness comes with college. That when you are home under the care of your family, you can pretend that life away would be so much better.

But, once you get there those differences make you sick for your comfort. And secretly those same people who say this, want you to be homesick.

Not for the empty feeling in your stomach, or the long hours you spend on the phone each night, but because they too want to be missed. They too want you to remember them as you grow.

Being missed is a feeling that only occurs with separation. And seeing a Colorado license plate, an addressed hallmark card with the zip code 81625 on my doorstep, or even a single mountain peak makes me reminiscent of my home in Colorado.

Last Thursday I had an impromptu speech in my public speaking class. This speech was unplanned, where you only get 2 minutes of preparation to create a structured and educational speech on an unknown topic.

When it was my turn I drew my topic out of the hat. It read "if I could be any animal I would be a _______."

Simple, right?

But have you ever thought of how many animals there are in this world?

So, I decided on the one animal that I knew the most about, the one animal that I spent years pampering, judging and leading.

A steer in the county fair.

Why not a bird, dolphin or pretty elegant animal?

That was predictable.

And I wanted to give my class a taste of the Moffat County Fair. But, of course, I put the word steer in California terms and described a steer as a "male cow that had been neutered."

Once again the knowledge I gained from my background made me unpredictable.

When people told me "stay in touch, M.K." I nodded my head in agreement, but in the back of my mind lingered all the things I had to do once I returned to San Diego.

I thought this was a selfish wish they had of me. I had the mentality that a five-minute phone conversation with a friend, or a family member from back home, would disrupt my perfect life here in San Diego.

I believed that I had grown up so much from my high school years.

I was wrong.

When did I grow?

When I admitted to my mistake.

I believe that the growth of an individual's character is not measured by how many times he is right but how many times she admits she is wrong.

Although I always represented Colorado well by talking about the greatness the state had to offer to everyone, the fact that I was ignoring the people with whom I experienced this greatness made me just another California girl.

The word homesick rarely entered my vocabulary when I was a freshman.

It came with such a negative connotation. I thought if I even admitted to an ounce of a remembrance of home or an ill feeling of homesickness that this equaled unhappiness.

This homesickness meant that I was not satisfied with my choice to go out of state for college. But for all you soon to be college freshmen, I am here to redefine the word homesick.

Homesickness isn't locking yourself up in your dorm room for the weekend with a box of Kleenex, a senior year photo album clenched to your heart, and your prom date on call waiting while you talk to your best friend from home.

Being homesick is the urge to call your mother when you get a parking ticket and failed your first biology test. Or the little butterflies you get in your stomach when you're picked up from the airport by the special someone you have back home.

Homesickness is the answers you can't find in college.

Homesickness is healthy and you will be homesick when you go to college. How you get through this homesickness will determine whether you think this feeling is a good or a bad thing.

So when my mother left this morning after spending the weekend here in San Diego. I was homesick.


notmpoppins 8 years, 11 months ago

Ralph Waldo Emerson said "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us" You have a beautiful caring soul. Thank you for such a moving, insightful, well written article. You should be very proud of the young woman that you have become, and the growth you have experienced by being "homesick".


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