The Importance of Going “Home” on Breaks

The word “home” means something different to every person. For some, home is a place, for others it’s a person or a pet, and for many, it’s a feeling.  

Going home for the holidays is one way to reset this upcoming season. Productivity is a valuable trait to have, but sometimes we tend to focus on being productive so much that we forget to take a break. That can lead to feeling like our flames are a little low, and like maybe we need a moment to catch our breath.  

The holidays in New York City. (Photo by Gloria Rivera)

For me, one of my favorite parts of going home is catching up with old friends in a familiar city. Being raised in New York City meant there was always something to do, it truly is the city that never sleeps. But, the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple means it isn’t ever really that comforting. There are times when I go home and the city lights aren’t that mesmerizing and the many sounds are a tad too loud. So I run back to Syracuse and continue with my now familiar, and cherished, routine.  

However, we’re officially at the point in the semester where most conversations are focused on final exams, projects, registration and what’s coming next. There’s a lot on everyone’s plate, and what feels like very little time to do it all. It’s also starting to get cold in Syracuse, and for those of us who don’t like the cold, the frigid air is a reminder that winter is finally here. Sometimes the items that are looming make it feel like there’s a lot happening or like maybe it’s a little bit bigger than us.    

One thing that never changes is the way I ease back into the embrace of my home. As I said before, it’s busy, but because of that I have found pockets of comfort between family and friends. Each time I go home I make time to catch up with an old friend in a familiar place, usually with some warm food. This has always been one of my favorite definitions of home. Friends to me are a chosen family, they are people who bring you comfort, keep you honest and grow with you through different seasons.  

This year is my first year going away for school. I stayed home for undergrad and leaned on my family a lot during that time. When choosing to go away for grad school, my friends back home were my only references for what life away from the city might be like. And now, they are the ones who give me pep talks and advice as I need it. Community is a key part in this journey, so keeping those in and out of  Syracuse close is a reminder of the importance of a good support system in every corner.  

As you approach these final weeks, be sure to pat yourself on the back for making it this far, and then make sure you make some plans to see friends after the semester ends. This way, when we return in January you can hopefully come back revitalized and better than ever. 

Gloria Rivera is a graduate student in the Goldring arts journalism and communications program at the Newhouse School.