SEAHO Report - Winter 2023 - 29

Home Away from Home:
College Students and Temporal Spaces
By Paige Pennebaker, Appalachian State University
INTRODUCTION
This topic was chosen to see what influences
college students' decision on where to live during
the school year. As someone that currently works in
university housing, this was an important topic since
it provides insight into students' residential needs.
I originally wanted to focus on the material culture
of their temporary living spaces in relation to ritual
needs, but the current pandemic caused me to shift
my perspective, though not by much. I wanted to
know why students chose where they were living and
how they adapted their spaces to create a sense of
" home " regardless of permanence. The way students
adapted their spaces is what makes this study urban
folklore since people may have chosen to bring more
or fewer items with them to their temporary living
space.
Surprisingly, I found that temporary living spaces do
not only refer to leased housing situations like those
of residence halls, apartments, or housing rentals.
Due to the pandemic, school officials encouraged
students to reside at home instead of coming to
campus. During a typical school year, students would
be living in temporary housing on or around campus
but the unconventional school year has caused
" living at home " to be included in the research.
Students would bring more decorative items to make
their living spaces more comfortable though, in this
context, students brought more items that were
more for utility purposes than aesthetics. Finding a
" home " in a temporary situation relies on a student's
individual social, physical, and material needs being
met.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Housing satisfaction is one of the most discussed
topics in housing literature and is categorized into
social and physical characteristics, according to
Khozaei, Ramayah, et al. (2011). Most students that
live on campus are dissatisfied when asked about
privacy, security, available spaces, and surrounding
environments. These students' social and portable
material needs may be met but the lack of diversity
in physical location can make it difficult to feel
comfortable on campus. This provides a possible
explanation for the reasoning behind choosing offcampus
housing. Khozaei, Ramayah, et al. suggest
that if there were more of an effort to satisfy students'
housing needs, then student housing satisfaction
would be higher. However, that is difficult to attain
since not every need can be met in an urban area
without having to sacrifice something. In short, some
needs are contradictory and students have to find
ways to adapt to be satisfied.
" Home " is not always a location, but a feeling that
can be attached to certain places or people. To gain
an understanding of the influences on students'
residential choices, I looked to a wide range of
studies that addressed patterns in these influences.
Rampazi explores the relationship between the
conceptual " home " and one's identity (2016). The
feeling of home comes from the fulfillment of one's
physical, cultural, and relational needs being met.
This suggests a disconnect between the physical
house or residence and the resident. In her article,
Rampazi discusses three young adults and their
experience with temporary housing. One participant,
Elvira, mentions how the tidiness of the room made
her feel uneasy and once the room was filled with
her personal items, she felt at home. This reveals
the connection between material items and a sense
of self in fostering a feeling of " home. " Even if
the physical location was not ideal, personal items
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SEAHO Report - Winter 2023

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Contents
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