Skip To Main Content

Home Away From Home

The beginning of cheesy NECO family photos! My classmates and I who share the same interest in photography spent the day exploring Beacon Hill where we took photos on Acorn Street, a popular tourist attraction not too far from NECO.

Thanksgiving break could not have come quick enough for me this fall. After working hard for midterms and the Clinical Skills Exam, the thought of going back home for the next couple of days brought me so much excitement and comfort. I booked my flight for the Thanksgiving school break in early October, and ever since then, I had been counting down the days. I missed home. I missed the familiarity.

It was very different not being with family for Canadian Thanksgiving in October this year. Despite having a three-day weekend that fell on the same day as Canadian Thanksgiving, I chose not to make the trip. Flight prices were too high and the demand for studying was getting higher too. It was my first Thanksgiving spent without my family. 

It was sad to think about but I discovered that many other Canadians were staying back as well. The fear of missing out on a tradition back home turned into a new tradition with my NECO Canadian family. Coming into school, I had not realized how many others were also leaving their homes to pursue their passion in optometry. It has given me the opportunity to make friends from all parts of the US, Canada, and even China! 

As the days came closer to the Thanksgiving break, I started to miss home more and more. I never thought I would miss home this much, as I had lived on my own during my undergraduate days. Every time I missed home, I reminded myself how fortunate I was to be only a two-hour flight from home, with no time change, being Canadian. If anything, home is not a far trip and only a phone call away. Not everyone here has that, and I am extremely proud of my classmates for flourishing at NECO, finding support through each other and taking initiative to ensure no one is left alone!

When Thanksgiving break rolled around, I shipped myself off to Toronto, where I spent my days catching up with friends and family. I definitely felt like a different person coming back, even though it had only been 3 months since I last saw everyone. The stories I told were a clear testament of how much Boston and NECO have changed me - I couldn’t stop talking about it! I found myself referencing everything to what I’ve been learning and experiencing. I caught myself trying to figure out my friend’s glasses prescription. I would comment on their pupils and then next thing you know, I’m performing a cover test on them. It put a smile on my mom’s face to see how much I to talk about school and I think it made them feel better about my decision to study in America.

When I went back home, I actually started to miss Boston. Maybe I am already more accustomed to the lifestyle I’ve made myself here. In Boston, I’m used to following my own routine, have become familiarized with my surroundings, and have gotten close to my classmates to the point where they’ve become my second family. With this being said, instead of feeling sad about leaving Canada, I was excited to come back to Boston. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that I started a miss a place I wanted to take a break from. I think it goes to show that I’m starting to finally create a home away from home.

Michelle is a Canadian student in her first year. She graduated from University of Waterloo in 2018 with a BSc, minoring in Biology and Geography & Environmental Management. Her passion to pursue optometry stems from her experience working at a practice, as well as volunteering her time to blind and partially sighted youth. During her free time, Michelle enjoys running, photography, and exploring new places and foods.