Away from home for the holidays

Chestnuts roasting by the open fire, an array of gingerbreads and pies, a quick kiss to welcome in the New Year- all of those are just a few activities students look forward to during their winter break at home.

What about the students living on campus during winter break? Or the students who stay in Thousand Oaks while the rest go home?

For a select group of students, going home isn’t an option. Some students have practices, such as the Regals and Kingsmen swim and basketball teams. They’re likely to spend their breaks shooting hoops and practicing their form.  Other students can’t go back home because home is in another country.

“Home is where the heart is,” said international student Yannis Moore. “And there’s plenty of heart here at CLU.”

While there are students who view California Lutheran University as home, for some, it’s difficult to even suggest that.

“I don’t really feel at home here. I live in San Diego and that’s home,” said junior Mary Wakabayashi.

Although CLU doesn’t feel completely like home for some, it’s still possible to enjoy the environment.

Being on campus can have some qualities that home doesn’t have, like being able to focus on your sport with no other responsibilities. It gives athletes a chance to fully enjoy their sport and keeps the focus off the fact that they’re not home.

“I have 10 days of real break, so I’ll go home to San Diego. Then, I’ll come back here and stay in my dorm room until second semester starts,” Wakabayashi said. “I’m just glad I have a break to go home. I guess I don’t really mind coming back because it’s kind of nice to practice without school and other things going on. It’s nice to focus on just my sport.”

For some students, being at CLU over winter break is not much different than home, especially in terms of rules. When staying at CLU over the holiday season, it gets easier to see friends here as family and the resident assistants as replacement parental figures, like mom and dad.

“The main difference between here and home is that there are no RAs at home,” Moore said. “Instead, I have my mother.”

Adding little quirky habits from home can help a student staying on break to get a little piece of home.

For junior Mimi Harbach, her mom supplied her with treats and goodies. For other students, this can mean baking cookies to make the living space smell like home, or watching early morning cartoons like when at home and surrounded by siblings and cuddling with pets.

“I end up missing my pet cats, honestly. Every now and then I get picture messages from my mom with my cats,” Harbach said.  “If I get real homesick and my mom knows, she’ll send care packages with treats I eat from home, like caramel popcorn and tons of chocolate.”

Students staying on campus or in the area during break can utilize services such as Oovoo or Skype to keep in touch with family. Parents can be just a phone call away if homesickness sets in.

Winter break doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. For those staying for teams, surround yourself with quality teammate company.

For international students staying over break, it’s a good time to meet other international friends to have company as well. After all, the more the merrier.



Berlin Galvan
Staff Writer
Published December 11, 2013