Home versus Hometown – Leaving the Nest – by Jemma Provance. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
As a college student spending my first extended time away from home, I can’t help but feel I’m in a sort of limbo where ‘home’ is concerned during the school year. This is appropriate, of course, considering I’m in that learning-to-fly, young adult stage when it’s coming to be time for me to officially leave the nest, summers and all. But it still feels odd when I’m at home for a short break and catch myself planning projects or outings with friends for when I go ‘home,’ meaning the school I’m living at while I take classes. These moments lead me to think about how and why we attach ourselves to places and what attaches us against our will, and which one ‘matters’ more.
Like some from a small town, I don’t especially like the place I was shackled to for the first eighteen years of my life. I consider school spirit a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, and sometimes wonder if my love of mountains and travel stemmed from growing up in a place so flat you can practically stand on your roof and see the next town over. In junior high I compared this little town ten miles south of the Canadian border an hour from the nearest Wal-Mart and three from the nearest mall to a dystopian conservative cornfield, and relished any opportunity for a road trip away from our practically 2-dimensional piece of nowhere.
So that’s why I’ve wished I lived in Duluth since my first tenth grade memory. I remember driving over the hill and seeing the city spread out before me. I spent that choir trip breathing in the biggest small-town in Minnesota. Small enough not to be overwhelming, and yet big enough to have all the things that were previously several hours of driving away. Plus, the best part of college is that there was a castle. Beautiful, historic, cultured, and not thousands of miles away from the family that made my hometown bearable. Because my specific nest, I’m lucky to say, was an uncommonly good one. I have a great relationship with my family, and my house, while old and flawed in many ways, is reasonably sized and has pretty little piece of property, including a handful of little quirks and nooks that undoubtedly identify it as my nest.
So heading to the school that caught my eye partially because of its location is both euphoric and unsettling, particularly when I catch myself referring to it as ‘home.’ In essence, a home is a place to keep all the stuff you can’t carry around with you, like closets, your personal library, and pets. As an aspiring world-traveler, I know that having a “mother-ship” to return to will be very important, since keeping track of seven dogs and cats, a few hedgehogs, several birds and a mini-pig would be difficult on the move. Plus, while I am struck with insatiable wanderlust, I am an incredibly introverted hermit at heart. So when will it be time to dismantle my meticulously decorated, appallingly cluttered bedroom and jump ship? When will returning to this cozy little corner of nowhere feel like visiting, and not returning home?
At nineteen, I’m a teenager and an adult at the same time. There will come several more fuzzy lines before things begin to solidify. Like most adults, while my home will change, I’ll always consider this pancake-y scrap of conservative cornfield my hometown. As for my mother-ship: it may be a job, may be a security deposit, may be my first adopted cat. The bridge is being built, but there’s no reason to cross it yet.
Jemma serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.
Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu
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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm
Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.
(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu