Each day I cross off the days on my calendar, gaging the amount of time before I return home. In the beginning of the year, this ritual acted as a way for me to not only measure the time, but to measure how I was coping with college. When I crossed off a day, I felt a sense of satisfaction and relief. The slash I created across my white board was a badge congratulating me on yet another day in which I acclimated myself to this new environment. At first, I knew instinctively how many days lingered until fall break. The halfway point of the semester, fall break, marked the four fleeting days where I would return home and once again be with my parents and the subsequent sense of familiarity and normalcy. For hours a day, I would fantasize about baking cookies with my Mom, eating my Dad’s pizza, and visiting local farm stands in search of the best apple cider donuts. However, I would also dread the impending homesickness I was certain I’d feel after returning to school. As the days slipped by, I soon found myself fantasizing about returning home less and less. Don’t get me wrong, I was still extremely excited about the prospect of my homecoming, but I also became excited about my life at Ithaca. My friends excited me, the idea of dressing up for Halloween and attending the Rocky Horror Picture Show excited me, and my ideas for my somewhat daunting Strategic Communications project also excited me. When I returned home, I was thrilled to be pampered and looked after. Having customized hot meals in front of me and consuming massive quantities of homemade cookies while lying on my couch was something I missed. Nonetheless, I found my mind drifting one hundred and eighty miles north to Ithaca. I wondered what my friends were doing, what activities we would take part in when we returned, and how I would recount my fall break excursions to them. This more than anything else excited me. It was a sign that I truly was and am enjoying college. I have made ties here to the people, place, and my academic success. While I still look forward to coming home (Thanksgiving! Pie! Family!), I know I will also look forward to returning. In the beginning I was not quite sure I would reach this point, but I believe I finally have. Home will always be there for me; my parents will always be there for me. Knowing this makes returning to Ithaca easier, as well as knowing I have a life, routine, and great group of friends waiting for me too.