No Place Like Home

By Mackenzie Ross
Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi for 2013
Sitting on the couch with my dog snoring next to me, a fire blazing, Christmas decorations shining, and my mocha latte steaming…
Yes, there is no place like home.
For so much of my life, I have looked forward to leaving home, moving to a new town, and trying new things. I could not wait for college, and I left home in August without looking back. College has been everything I expected and more, but now with a semester under my belt, I realize how much I miss home.
I only came home three times over the past four and a half months, but even then, my visits were short and filled with visiting friends and family and completing homework assignments. These visits were always nice, but I could not wait to return to my new “home” in Tuscaloosa. 
The past few months have absolutely flown by, but looking back, it almost seems like a blur. Classes, sorority, friends, clubs, volunteering, church, and football games consumed my fall, and as much as I enjoyed all these things, I did not realize the toll they were taking on my body. By Thanksgiving, all I wanted was a break, but unfortunately the two short days I was home for Thanksgiving did little to reinvigorate me. Thankfully, I managed to survive the final week of school and exams and make all A’s. But when it came time to pack my belongings and head home for Christmas break, I was relieved.
Since being home, I have enjoyed home cooked meals, a large bed to sleep in, and long showers, but most importantly, I have treasured being with my family. There is something so priceless about being with the people who love you the most. When I am at home, I do not have a “to-do list” that is a mile long, and I do not have to worry about how I look or act.  At home, I can truly be myself. I can be the loud, funny Mackenzie, or I can be the quiet, thoughtful Mackenzie. But no matter what mood I am in, my family loves me anyway.
When I went to college in August, I seriously underestimated how much I would miss home.  But the truth is, I need my family. They have helped shape me into the person I am today, and they will always be an integral part of my life. College is a time for growing, and I really do love it. But I also love and cherish the time I get to spend at home.
I will return to school on January 8th, and next semester will undoubtedly be just as crazy as this past semester. But I will return to school with a new appreciation for the time I spend at home. I may not be able to click my heels three times and magically return home, but “home” and everything it encompasses will always be where my heart is.
Mackenzie Ross is a college freshman at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Political Science. Originally from Meridian, MississippiMackenzie was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi for 2013. Learn more about Mackenzie here!

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