By the time December tumbles around at CNU, life gets very interesting. You’re very settled now, even with talk of finals flitting about. You’ve established connections in your hall, and who you spend lunch and dinner with every Tuesday and  Thursday. Perhaps you and your roommate even have a tradition, ridiculous to some, but sacred all the same.

And in December, you’ll catch yourself walking alone at night absent-mindedly. And that’s when you really realize you’ve become quite settled at CNU. No need for the precautionary “buddy system,” or calling to check in with your roommate, not even the thought of it in fact. And certainly there wasn’t the new-eyed awe of a freshman that gasps at her surroundings. It’s just you, walking. Other things were busying your mind, walking the routine you know will bring you to your end destination. No flubbing about looking around and thinking, “There! No, there. No. . .” By December, all you have to do is let your feet guide you home.

And it is just like home. You don’t need to think where you’re going, or assess the semi-identical columned buildings, you just walk. Let your feet direct you there, and your head may think on.

This is important. Why? Because you’re finally comfortable enough to feel like home, rather than call it home. Nearly everything presented in the CNU lifestyle is pampered and plush from the start, but in a deserted parking lot between Freeman and Ferg, how much feeling of home can you get? Well, nearly none, unless you feel at ease knowing its crooks and crannies, the cracks in the pavement, and each odd tree plunked down here and there. You’re comfortable in your own skin in this “new” environment, except you know it’s not new due to the fact your skin’s not tingling with awareness.

Being comfortable in your own skin is especially important, and it doesn’t matter how many couches your dorm offers, or how lavish the food selections are. It’s how you’ve been treated and what you’ve seen that makes you comfortable in all places and times of day on campus. It’s the heart of the community and the security. Isn’t that what we seek most when thinking of home? Security in a soft touch as your mother strokes your hair, in the familiar way the stars twinkle from your front lawn, or in the sound of your lock clicking at night when you were growing. You knew the fake monsters couldn’t catch you anyway, but it was still nice to hear the click. It was still secure.

That’s what you feel in the months growing up to December, and you don’t even realize it. And pretty soon, CNU starts to become your home rather than act as it.

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