New Jersey was my home for eight years (the longest I have ever lived in one place). It’s where I learned to ride a bike, where I experienced my first heartbreak, and where I met my first love. At one point, I thought it would be my forever home…until it wasn’t anymore.
After New Jersey, I first moved to Rochester, New York where I spent my first two years of high school. Both my parents (and my entire family) are originally from there, with the exclusion of my sisters and myself. My parents officially separated so my mother decided to go home. I always imagined what that felt like: growing up in one place and having the ability to return down the road to reminisce about the past. What was it like to come back to a place where you had years of memories to think back to? Now, if I wanted to show someone where I am from, we would be traveling for weeks.
I realize it may be difficult for others to understand the feeling I am talking about when I say I am from everywhere and nowhere. I didn’t get the chance to establish roots in any one place. I don’t have childhood friends that I will one day meet up with at a coffee shop. And I probably will never run in to my ex boyfriends. My entire adolescent life has been chaotic and stressful, but it has also made me resilient and aware. I have lived in two countries and five states. The only place I have ever felt truly at home is here at Rutgers.
My dad took me on a Rutgers tour the year before my junior year of high school. We were getting ready to move again. To California for the second time. It felt as if I was trying on the perfect wedding dress as I rode the bus around campus, as the tour guide talked at length about this marvelous place I now call home. I only applied to Rutgers. I only wanted to go here, and despite my lack of confidence, I knew in my heart Rutgers is where I was meant to end up. When things in my life were going horribly wrong, the only thing that kept me going was the thought of my future at Rutgers. And I am so thankful to spend the next four years of my life here.