Home Away from Home

Returning to college after two and a half months of vacation comes with a mix of feelings. There is a disappointment because, after all that time of relaxing in the summer sun, even the thought of 8 AM classes, assignments and sessionals is off-putting. Yet, there’s also an undeniable excitement in returning to the place we’ve all begun to call home.

There’s a familiarity in coming back to Manipal and doing it all again — the classes, the rain, going out to eat or ordering in late at night. You may be busier than you were at home, but that’s more than compensated for by the flood of friends that always surround you.

Picture this: you’re having a tough day. You were late to class, the assignment didn’t go as well as planned and to make matters worse, the rain seems to be following you. You slowly make your way to your block, ready to sink into your bed. As you trudge past the chemical block, you meet a friend who tells you something funny that happened in class. At the mess, they’re serving your favourite snack, and the coffee is perfect — not too strong, yet not too diluted. In your room, just before dinner, you find out that your first class tomorrow has been cancelled.

Even when some days don’t go your way, there are always these little things happening during each day that make them bearable. An evening run or a night out with your friends, waking up to your roommate’s playlist or even the gentle patter of rain against your windows — it does not matter about what, where or when— comfort can be found in every corner of our ‘home’.

In fact, moments like these — the warm feeling that comes with every ray of sunshine in the odd semester and, on the flip side, the joy of the first rains after the sweltering heat of the even semester — are what make living in Manipal so special.

When away, you may have missed the midnight snacks and late-night conversations with your roommate, but, you wouldn’t have realised how much you’ve missed the chaos of campus life until you’re battling through the hoards of students headed the other direction while on your way to class and trying to stick with your friends while doing so.

There’s also an undeniable homeliness to the greenery that floods every corner of the town. Even the frustrating things, that seem to bother you at the time — like the dampness in your shoes from wading through puddles, or rushing for shelter under the nearest building because your umbrella is buried somewhere in the depths of your bag can bring a smile to your face in hindsight.

This hearth of ours is continually changing, yet stays the same. A look around, and you will see a sea of new faces — some excited for their first year here, some so accustomed to the place that they could walk around with a blindfold. A closer look and you will see that the stores near NLH stand the same, the same pack of dogs rest near Block 13 and Temple Run is still a long, long walk (often a late-night run). And always remember that change can be intimidating at first, yet comforting in the long run.

There’s this feeling you begin to associate with Manipal — the same kind you get when you’re walking through the Student Plaza after a long day, knowing that you’re going back to your room.

It’s the feeling you get when you know that you are home.

And maybe, next time you’d like to take a little bit of this feeling and Manipal back with you, just so that you know that there’s always a place waiting for you; A place that will always feel like your home away from home. So, visit The MIT Store page, and pick up a T-shirt (or two) so that the next time you run through the list of everything you miss about Manipal, you’ll be able to show it off.

Written by Naintara Singh and Aarohi Sarma for MTTN

Images by Tushar Machavolu

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