When a Theme House Becomes a Theme Home | St. Lawrence University

When a Theme House Becomes a Theme Home

Tessa Denison

I don’t often find myself pondering questions of existentialism during my car rides back to school. Anxious to get back to my friends and schoolwork that await me in the North Country; these five-hour drives usually consist of loud music and a whole bunch of mindlessness. However, one fall afternoon on my drive back to school, there I was, contemplating the meaning of home.

Merging onto the 401 Highway in Southern Ontario, I leave the city I call home: Toronto. I head eastbound towards New York to make the familiar journey back to school after our first break of my junior year. It’s at this point in my drive that I usually glance woefully in my rearview mirror as I watch the city lights and skyscrapers get further and further away until they disappear altogether. But this particular drive was different. That woeful longing for the city; for my home, never came. Rather, in its place came a different sensation; excitement. An intoxicating amount even. Never before had my excitement to return to school overcome the sadness I felt to be leaving home. Why though, after two years at SLU and countless drives back to campus from home, was this one all of a sudden different?

I contemplated this question and this new feeling over the course of my drive until it finally dawned on me – for the first time I wasn’t driving back to school, I was driving home.

I moved into my theme house, Commons College, in the fall semester of 2016 and I’ve lived there ever since. I am now a senior and this house and the people in it have become my home and my family. I’ve learned a lot in my three and a half years at SLU, but perhaps the most unexpected has been this: a home does not need to be limited to the place you were born or where you grew up; a home is a place where the people you love are.

I do still get that woeful feeling of sadness I mentioned earlier, only now it hits me every time I leave Commons, as I glance in my rear-view mirror and watch my home fade into the distance.