This I Believe

Caroline - Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
Entered on March 9, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

There’s supposed to be no place like home. Yet I believe, that for a teenager like me, home is a vague place. When I was younger, I used to get home sick when I was in school. I found myself longing for my room when I was in my first class in second grade. I wanted to see my mom and my dad when I was eating lunch in fourth grade. I knew where I belonged and where I wanted to be.

I started fencing when I was nine years old. As the time passed, I excelled in my fencing career. I started to be able to go to national and international competitions which kept me away from school and from home at weeks at a time. When I was in my pre teen and early teen years, I longed to get home a few days after leaving for the competition. I still had a sense of where I wanted to be and where my heart still lived. However, as the years went by, I found myself longing for another trip so that I could leave my house. I started getting restless and feeling like I belonged somewhere in Germany rather than at home in New Jersey. Yet when the time finally came to leave for this long awaited trip, I would be homesick even before I left the airport! When I got to my destination, I did not feel the happy feeling of belonging but felt even more uncomfortable with the disadvantage of not knowing the language or the city which I was in. I didn’t (and still don’t) know what to do to stop this constant feeling of discomfort and displacement.

I am now a junior in High School and am starting the process of visiting colleges. There are times that I find myself longing to leave home and stay on campus for the four whole years, and then in a fleeting moment, I find that I am mad at myself for wanting to leave the place that I love so dearly and no longer find that particular campus attractive.

I believe that during this time of any teenager’s life, there starts a search for the placement of a proper “home”. As I travel through Europe, America and Asia, through Columbia, Georgetown and Penn State, I try to find where I can delay this feeling of restlessness for another four years. Where I can find someplace I can call home. I believe that all juniors and seniors feel this way, and are torn between wanting to stay at home and to find a home of their own.