When I’m asked, “Where is home for you?” I giddily exclaim home is Syracuse. My Syracuse University.

Whenever someone says the word home, I am instantly teleported to a feeling of warmth, a sense of familiarity and belonging, and a haven of comfort that exudes love and friendship.

Coming from a new place

I could clearly recollect packing my bags and the amount of endless nerves that wrenched my soul on the very thought of leaving everything I could think of as “familiar” and moving to a known land of promises and dreams. The sting of pain in my heart was chronic. But so was the zeal and exhilaration to follow the dream of pursuing my next degree at Syracuse University.

The first few weeks in Syracuse involved a cycle of learning about the school, getting acquainted with the campus, preparing for the classes, buying your groceries, interacting with the classmates and trying to soak in everything all at once.

As I walked around the campus in the very first week, I realized that though there were myriads of ways that made students different, the gleam in the eyes and thread of passion to fulfill our dreams tied us together in every way possible.

Finding a community

This place grows on you, slowly and staunchly. As the days went by, the University became a haven of warmth and joy. Everyone is welcomed with sparkling smiles and beaming heart. The warmth that hailed from all the directions – the professors, classmates, friends, university staff, anyone, and everyone.

There have been numerous acts of kindness from strangers and friends to make us feel at home.

I remember struggling to find a bus back home on a dark evening with pouring rains and a generous woman stopped. She happened to be a professor of physics. She stayed with me, her umbrella over my head, for over half an hour until I could hop on the bus.

As time passed, I met numerous souls who became family to me. These are the people I could count on. We have grown into a family together where we share laughter, tears, joy, success, and failures. From sharing our meals to celebrating festivals, strangers evolved into friends and then to a close-knit family. These are the people who have been making my journey memorable and beautiful.

“There have been numerous acts of kindness from strangers and friends to make us feel at home.”

In addition, the various events across the university always keep us entertained, increase our interactions, and enrich our overall experience of student life. The University has something to offer for every taste and spectrum from dance clubs, adventure events, tech gatherings, sports events, and social gatherings.

One can walk into an Orange After Dark event on their Saturday night, make new friends, enjoy, laugh and have the time of their life. There have been several times when I struggled during the internship search and coursework, and the academic advisors and professors have advised and motivated towards taking my career in the right direction.

Cheering for the talented Syracuse University teams at every sport/game event, one can always feel the adrenaline. This fervor instills a sense of belonging to the University. As we proudly chant “Go Orange!” the sentiment of oneness evokes in us with profound pride and rejoice.

Realizing what home is about

Home is the place where we feel always safe. Being a student away from home, one of the major concerns that we grapple with is safety. And the University leaves no stone unturned to keep us safe and protected. This is by holding sessions to ensure that students are aware of the campus safety measures. DPS is also active every single day to assure of it.

Gratitude comes to me in the simplest way possible.

At times, I pass by the Bird Library and take my phone out like a tourist trying to capture the beauty of the sun kissing the buildings. Other times I sit back near the Hinds Hall on the grass, wondering how this wonderful place imparts the feeling of comfort and homeliness.

During finals week, I often find myself gazing out of the window from the library. I would admire the magnificence of this place, witnessing the gleaming eyes of students working hard on campus. This makes every qualm over the long journey to start a degree at this university worthwhile.

The transition of the University being foreign to home was magical, without a hitch, and fluid. Wherever I will be, Syracuse University will always remain home.

As they rightly say: home is feeling, and not a place.

Aditi Shrivastava stands facing the historic Crouse College building on the Syracuse University campus.

Aditi Shrivastava stands facing the historic Crouse College building on the Syracuse University campus.

by Aditi Shrivastava