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Photo from https://www.thereader.org.uk/the-reader-at-calderstones-is-home-for-christmas/

Home Alone? Or Alone Away from Home?

Homesickness is bad enough on its own but around Christmas time? Oh, boy. Rockwell has since dazzled us with their twinkling lights donned on the buildings, Power Plant Mall is a pseudo-Winter Wonderland, and every coffee shop has been playing their Christmas playlists. Everywhere we turn it’s officially the Yuletide season. But while everyone is shopping for presents or planning their annual Christmas dinners, here we are dreading finals and struggling to keep up with the Daily Grind (still.) Being a law student is tough but being a law student whose hometown is not in Manila? It’s sad.

What it Means to be Far Away from Home

It’s been 6 years since I moved from Cagayan de Oro to the big “Metro Manila.” It gets easier, yes. I have gotten used to spending Sundays alone and being away from home for months (but for others, years). The first taste of freedom is a different kind of euphoria for a young person and living away from your family makes you grow up faster, surprisingly.

Although living away from home means no curfews and “independence,” it also means missed birthday dinners, long distance friendships, and sad Face Time calls with your pets. Frankly, studying law and preparing for finals is terrible enough, but having to open books while Silver Bells is playing in the background, really doesn’t ease the stress. It makes matters worse in a lot of ways.

This is a sad reality that probinsyano kids face but there are a lot of ways to enjoy Christmas without the comfort of home.

What to do in the Meantime

Buy gifts. There are a lot of novelty items in Manila that can’t be found back home. Think of it as balikbayan gifts. Although a lot of us are only a plane ride away, there are things that simply cannot be bought back in the province.

Set a calendar. There’s nothing like having something to look forward to! Mapping out your study schedule and counting down the days until that flight or bus ride home is a different kind of joy. Although the stress of studying for the final exams will be ever present, that goal of reaching the end will make things worth it.

Spend time with friends. You are not alone. Being far away from home also means having to find comfort in the arms of your friends and blockmates. Being away from the family during the Yuletide season is rough but the silver lining is that you can find family in your friends. Plan your own orphans’ Christmas dinner! Allow the joys of the holidays to fill your conversations and hang outs with your friends. That warm, fuzzy feeling you get from being with your family can be found with your barkada.

Study. There is a reason why you remain in law school. You have a “why.” Whatever that may be, that reason must be strong enough for you to brave through back to back exams with that goal of becoming a lawyer. At the end of the day, you must remember that you are doing this for the people you are coming home to at the end of the semester.

The Best Part

            Finally, when you hand in that last blue book and realize that it’s time to go home, everything will seem worth it. All the blood, sweat, and tears poured into the first semester will have been for something. You finally get to go home!

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