Guest Writer: Elijah Neal
“Welcome back / Your dreams were your ticket out / Welcome back / to that same old place that you laughed about,” John Sebastian writes in his number one 1987 Blues Rock Hit, “Welcome Back.”
It is a great road trip song for the eight-hour journey back to Georgia. It creates a nostalgic longing for my family, my friends and the well-kept roads of The South. I just want to be welcomed back to the place I know best.
When I was a freshman, I wanted to go home a lot. I often thought about making the drive on the weekend, but I took the advice of Dr. Confer, my parents and some older students.
The first time I went home was on Christmas break. For approximately three months, I refused to journey to the muggy state I called home. In those three months, I connected to a great group of friends, I learned how to handle money on my own, and I grew my skill set.
I am telling you this because I believe that you should not go home on the weekends. In fact, I challenge you to go home as little as possible, because that will lead to the most growth, and I want you to open your eyes to the beauty of Anderson, Indiana.
The first opposing argument to mine is, “Home helps students connect to family.”
We need good family relationships. We need the love from our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers when no one else loves us. Being in the presence of our families allows us feel the love or recreate the love that families can have.
I am not telling you to never go home, but you should go home as little as you can. Here are at least three things to try when going home as little as possible.
You could call home in the middle of your busy day, you could ask your family to come up for a visit or you could wait for a break.
The next opposing argument is, “Home helps students financially.”
Families help us financially, and going home or living at home helps students out a lot; however, I still want to challenge you.
You have access to jobs and friends at AU. Please use them. Become a student leader or work in the library. Also, asking your friends for money is another great way to survive the college life.
The final argument is, “Home is where I am comfortable.”
We know home. We have lived there longer. No matter where your home is, it is easy to go home because people will welcome us back. I want to be welcomed back, and I want to be loved.
Now I am welcomed back and loved in two places. When I come back to Anderson, I call it home, but that did not happen overnight. It has taken two years of not going home.
Why do I care so much about students going home for the weekend?
The first reason is that I have seen a lot of students drop out. Sometimes students cannot avoid leaving our campus due to finances or conduct, but I have found that the more you go home, the more likely you are to drop out.
It is a sad fact because I love Anderson, Indiana. We have great tacos, great people, great leaders, a great school and problems to fix. Let’s enjoy each other at CAB or campus ministry events, club outings and sports games. Let’s enjoy the great things and fix the broken things.
Let’s make the city of Anderson our home.
Elijah is a senior Bible and religion major from Woodstock, Georgia.