Opinion | Doing college from home taught me the importance of family and staying true to your values

Living with family and values of my hometown during COVID-19 taught me how significant these things are.


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Ally Pronina, Opinions Columnist

Quarantine led me back to my hometown of Pella, Iowa. Doing college from home since March 2020 has taught me the importance of family and staying true to your values.

My sister got her permit recently and uses my car. Because of everyone being home, I get to have the big sister moment of telling her “don’t crash my car” every time she goes for a driving lesson with my mom.

In October 2020, my family moved to a new house. I loved being home to help unpack and see the new house and my new room when everyone else did. I loved being there when my parents got the offer and to have been able to go see it with them for the first time.

My grandma, tragically, died from cancer this June, and being home has helped me mentally cope with her death. I rejected a job offer in Iowa City this May because I knew about her illness and wanted to be home if the worst happened.

A research paper found family closeness was positively correlated with college students’ self-regulated learning skills. I found myself busier at home than at school because I did not just have school on my plate. I also had to make time for my family, which improved my time management skills. I knew weekends were family time, so I tried to be very productive during the week in order to have them free, unlike on campus where I tended to put everything off until them.

After graduating this December, I will continue the job I have now in Pella as a direct support professional until (hopefully) going to graduate school in fall 2022. I’m looking forward to going back to being able to greet my dad when he gets home from work, go on shopping and coffee dates with my mom, and attend my sister’s concerts and tennis matches again. I also am going to miss my clients — who have helped me smile and feel joyful despite the grief — and am glad I get to work with them again.

Something else which is important is staying true to the values your hometown has given you, which I have found relevant since the values, such as faith, of Pella are different from Iowa City. It’s OK to attend a party school but be uncomfortable around drunk people because unlike Iowa City, Pella does not have drunk people around every corner on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

It’s OK to continue being a conservative Christian — even if you go to school in a secular, liberal environment. It’s OK to go to bed every Friday when everyone else on your floor starts going out and wakes up when they are just about ready to go to bed because growing up in a small town made you a morning person.

Doing college from home has brought back these values by bringing me back to a place where I am surrounded by them. It has brought me back to a place with people who understand my politics and faith.

Pella is my comfort zone and the place where I am happiest because of these values. Doing college at home may not be anyone’s dream but it taught me the importance of family and hometown values.  In December, I’ll want to graduate so I can come back to my parents’ new house or my clients’ house and say, “Honey, I’m home.”


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.