To heal homesickness, we have to accept growing up

Michael LaRocca, Associate Opinion Editor

Quinnipiac women’s soccer lost 4-0 against Monmouth in the MAAC championship on Nov. 7, 2021. (Connor Lawless)

Adjusting to college life is a difficult process, that’s a given. That change is one of the few aspects of growing up that affects every person differently. 

I am grateful to say that it was not as difficult of an ordeal as I expected. I found friends I love being around, and joining student media organizations gave me a purpose on campus besides getting a degree. Outside of those, I avoided homesickness by getting engulfed in Quinnipiac University sports. 

As a lifelong resident of Middletown, New Jersey, I lived a swift half-hour away from Monmouth University. My favorite first-year memories have been when I learned the Hawks were coming to Hamden, Connecticut, to play my beloved Bobcats. 

Regardless of the matchup’s outcome, it always felt nice to have a piece of home come visit me while away at school. However, I learned recently that this slice of comfort won’t stay with me for much longer. 

On Jan. 18, Monmouth University announced that it will leave the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and move all of its athletic teams to the Colonial Athletic Association, starting the 2022-23 academic year. This meant that after my first year of college, I will be without the opportunity to see Quinnipiac face off against the men and women representing the university of my home. 

Unable to discern why, I was crushed when I found out. It took a few weeks for me to process the news. 

I described my feelings in a tweet on Feb. 6, “I’m still not over Monmouth leaving the MAAC. It feels like the union between my home and my college has been severed like the world’s strangest breakup.”

It was odd to feel this way because I cannot say that I have ever been a Monmouth Hawks fan. I grew attached to the simple idea that something so close to my home would make visits to me at college fairly consistently. 

In the most playful way possible, I always wanted Quinnipiac to beat Monmouth just to reassure myself that I love being here in the same way I love being at home. I definitely will not miss how much Monmouth dominated the Bobcats. 

Across all sports matchups where Quinnipiac played the Hawks, the Bobcats have a 169-207-6 all-time record as of publication. These games have happened throughout the schools’ 24 years of conference bouts with each other.  

Infographic by Peyton McKenzie

While Monmouth’s decision to compete in the Colonial Athletic Association is completely valid, for me, this feels like a connection that has been viciously severed with little warning. 

In my head, having the Hawks come visit Hamden once every few weeks was essentially a cure-all for the homesickness usually cited as a symptom of the college adjustment process. Now, as they leave my day-to-day consciousness, all I see is an opportunity to grow up, for Quinnipiac as well as myself. 

I have learned what it takes to be an adult in today’s world at college, and this is my first step toward becoming just that. No matter how large or small, we all go through our early lives with training wheels on. Possibly, entire universities experience this just the same. 

Monmouth is leaving the MAAC to experience growth within its athletics that it could not find beforehand. Quinnipiac sports, besides ice hockey, will see where they can go without a big brother watching over every year. I may finally be able to live without thinking about home all of the time. 

Before writing this, I was still upset with the revelation that fans of MAAC schools went through last month. Now as I explore these feelings, I feel refreshed. Instead of seeing Monmouth like the person I go to class with each week, I can now view it as that super cool cousin who comes around during the holidays. We don’t see each other often but have an amazing time together whenever we do. 

Letting go of what we hold dearest might be what can help us grow and become the most developed version of ourselves.