Home Is As Far Away As You Make It

By: 
Emily Hurlbut
Class of: 
2018

The tailgate to my car barely closes and I can’t see out the back. I hug my parents and say, “I’ll see you during the next break!” I give my dog a belly rub and tell him he’s a good boy, hop in my car, and wave goodbye as I pull out of the driveway. I cruise through my neighborhood and I’m off to college. No GPS and an open road is all that’s ahead of me. Thirty minutes later, my heart leads me home and I’ve arrived at my destination - 23 Romoda Drive, St. Lawrence University.

Now, 30 minutes may not seem like a real trek, but it’s always an adventure on the long and winding North Country back roads. The road to Canton from my house is barely a handful of right and left turns, one blinking red stoplight, and a plentiful amount of deer betting each other as to who can make it across the road first. As you may have guessed, I’m a true North Country local and proud to come from a place that could be considered beyond Upstate, New York. Seriously though, I can see Canada from my house.

I’m here to tell you that just because I live so close to home doesn’t mean I’m expected to be home for every family dinner. Somedays I feel as if I’m 10 hours from home, somedays it’s three, and other days I’m a hop, skip, and jump away from welcome home kisses from my dog. Home is as far away as you make it (hence the title).

I grew up imagining myself at colleges relatively far away, but ultimately ended up at a college that feels as if it’s in my backyard. It’s a unique experience to have my family closer than a phone call away and it’s one I wouldn’t want to have any differently. At a young age, I felt the need to rush to independence and adulthood, but realized I was missing the bits and pieces of life that needed to be cherished the most: family and friends.

My days are constantly filled with reminders that I’m less than 30 miles from home. Baked goods that are hand-delivered by family, surprise visits by my grandparents taking me out to lunch or dinner, and cards sent via mail. St. Lawrence has given me the best of both worlds, independence and a home cooked meal when I need it most. While my true home will always be Massena, New York, there’s no doubt that Canton takes a close second.