When I was in high school, I never for one second thought that I would be 20 years old going to school and living in rural Kansas.
However, that is exactly where I am.
Sterling truly is small town USA, surrounded by farm land and with less people than my high school.
Coming to live in Sterling was a true culture shock.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I have become used to one of the most populated areas in the country being my home, and now I am living in one of the least populated areas in America.
There is definitely the comfort aspect of living in a quiet, small town where everyone knows everyone, but it isn’t quite home.
Like many college students who go to college away from home, I am at the part of the year where homesickness really starts to hit.
After two and a half years at Sterling, I have learned that this phenomenon never fails.
This part of the semester, where we have gone past the half way point of class and Thanksgiving and winter breaks are so close and yet so far, is the most difficult point.
It is the perfect storm for missing home.
The two things I miss the most about home are not obtainable out here in Kansas — the warm Southern California weather and my mother’s cooking.
There are many things that home has that small-town Kansas does not — there is always something to do or somewhere to go, the friends I grew up with and my family are there, plus all the food.
I mentioned missing my mom’s cooking, but I also miss the food you can find in Los Angeles compared to out here.
In actuality it doesn’t matter where someone is from or how far from home they are.
In everyone’s own mind, just as the famous Kansan Dorthy said in Frank L. Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz,” there is no place like home.
Wherever someone is, there is always part of them that realizes that this is just not home.
I have friends who attended major university’s back home in Los Angeles and in other places where many high school students dream of attending school.
And they will rave about how great their life is at their schools.
But they all have this relief and happy feeling when they go home.
There are also the little things about home that no one really understands but yourself — something like a certain smell from home or even maybe the way a tree looks from home can bring comfort to someone.
Personally, I believe that those are the things that truly make home unique and a place that can never be replaced.