Suitcase College and the Fight to Stay / Kienna Van Dellen

Through the weeks of seemingly endless rounds of tests, assignments, and ever-changing schedules, the typical MC student can be found rushing from the Commons to class with a coffee in hand. With the busy weeks of college life, it can sometimes be difficult to catch up with your friends during the week with everyone’s varying schedules. The rest and social activities that the weekends often bring are a time welcomed by students. 

However, many students on Mississippi College’s campus do what is most often referred to as “suitcase college.” This refers to the students who are on campus during the week but frequently travel home on the weekends, leaving the parking lots empty and dormitories quiet.  

The motivations behind leaving campus vary for each student. For some, it’s earning money in a job they are comfortable with back home. For others, it’s the delight of seeing family and the familiarities of home. A commonality between many of them is the search for a pressure-free outlet. We do our academics, work, and live our social lives all in the same spot within a few blocks of these red-brick streets. This environment leads students to want an escape by the time the weekend comes, which often takes the form of a road trip home. 

This may not seem like an issue at a glance; after all, family time is important, and nobody is going to turn down a home-cooked meal. However, aspects of this may contribute to feelings of loneliness during students’ time at MC. 

College gives each of us the irreplaceable opportunity to expand ourselves and be fully immersed in the world of academia. Beyond our studies, we are able to build a home within the Clinton community over our four years here. 

Going home every weekend can make it difficult for freshmen to build community on campus; making another city your home is a rough transition to go through. However, every student on campus has had to fight the pull to return home. While this struggle is not unique, it doesn’t make it any less challenging. 

However, if you want to cultivate those deep relationships outside of school, it often takes that extra time spent with other people outside of academic study. 

I challenge you to put your bags away and spend a few weekends on campus and in the community. Step outside your social comfort zone and go to different things that you normally wouldn’t attend. Spend time with different people, foster relationships, and break down the barriers of small talk. Weekend bonding often comes through spontaneous late-night ice cream runs or dorm lobby game nights. It’s hard to be a family when nobody is home, so come on back and embrace it before it passes all too quickly. 

Ephesians 4:2-6

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

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