Understanding College Students' Sense of Home and Its Effect on Well-Being
Aye, Hnin Phyu
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Feeling “at home” is a universal experience that develops during childhood and is maintained throughout adulthood. Despite the importance of home in all stages of life, the psychological literature is lacking in studies of how young adults specifically feel “at home” in short term living spaces like college dormitories. The present study explored the experience of feeling “at home” or “not at home” among college students living on campus and how these feelings contribute to their overall sense of well-being. Nine students from diverse backgrounds were interviewed and their subjective experiences of “home” were analyzed using a phenomenological approach. The study also examined photographs of students’ living spaces on campus to supplement the interview data and to contextualize their experiences of home. Findings indicated striking variations in the meanings behind students’ sense of home, which were explored in terms of their implications for well-being and success in college.