Answering the Call Of Home Sweet Home

Whoever said you can't go home again must not know me. After two very happy years living on campus at Temple University, I'm moving back home. Some of my friends think I'm slightly mad - after all, I'm giving up (in no particular order) proximity to campus resources, the fun of living with my friends, some degree of privacy, the total college experience, right?

Right and wrong. Yes, I'll have to take the train into school every day and I won't be able to go to the library at midnight. I won't see my friends as much and I'll be sacrificing a little bit of freedom. But I'm gaining a lot, too.

My favorite things to consider moving home for are the things they don't tell you about in college view books and on campus tours. Things like laundry done lovingly by dear old mom. Like cable TV when you have a moment to unwind. Like, "Hey Kristen, what do you want for dinner?" instead of a long cafeteria line to wait for something I don't want to eat anyway.

But let's get serious. A huge factor in my decision to move home is money. I'm looking at student loans and a journalist's salary when I graduate, and I don't plan on living at home forever. Frankly, that scares me. Sure, I'll miss the on-campus life, but I'm lucky to be close enough to live at home, halving my costs. Maybe I can afford my own car because I'll be saving more, and then I'll have the chance whenever I want to see my friends, go to the library, or just get away if I need a breather. I see myself as trading one kind of independence for another.

Temple is mostly a commuter school, and I'll be joining the legion of those who drive or take public transportation to school. Commuting is not quite as convenient as living on campus, but it's a decision I've given a lot of thought to and feel comfortable with.

I'm not espousing bypassing the campus life. It's a wonderful experience - you can't duplicate the feeling of meeting a total stranger in August and having that person become one of your best friends by May, for example. And you learn a lot about how to be an adult when your parents aren't telling you how important it is to study and you find it out for yourself.

What I am saying is that it's going to be really nice to go home to my very own bed every night.

You see, my parents realize that I'm not in high school anymore - I've proved that I'm responsible enough to live sensibly without them, and they treat me accordingly.

Being a realist, I'm not going to pretend that I won't ever get interrupted in the middle of studying by a request to do the dishes. I'll be surrendering some degree of autonomy, but I'll deal with it.

On the flip side, I also won't have to share a bathroom with 15 other people. It's a trade-off, of course, but one I'm willing to make. To tell you the truth, I'm looking forward to the fact that I'll be physically distancing myself from school, which I sometimes find overwhelming when I'm bogged down with work.

The moral of this story is that I think living at home gets a bad rap. I freely admit that I have the best of both worlds. I got to have the joys of dorm life (fire drills at 3 a.m. and floor meetings the night before a 12-page paper is due notwithstanding), and I still have two years of rent-free comfort before I have to enter the real world.

* Kristen A. Graham, a sophomore at Temple U. in Philadelphia, is a journalism major who hopes to work for a major newspaper, own a baseball team, and write a really great novel.

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