Like a good number of high school graduates, I couldn't wait to get out of my hometown. I wanted to find adventure in a whole new place. I had lived in my hometown my entire life and I was ready for a change – at least I thought I was.
When I first arrived at my college (which was over 900 miles away from home), I was blown away by all of the novelty. Everything was new and exciting, at least it was to me. All of the local malls, restaurants, not to mention a whole new political climate. I thought this was going to be what my life would always be like at college, but I was wrong.
After a couple weeks or so, the novelty wore off. I had already been to the nearby attractions and there wasn't much left. The excitement had turned into dull routine. It seemed like I had already seen everything that the small city had to offer.
And at this point, I was starting to miss the familiarity and comforts from home. Home cooking, constantly being around my friends, my loving puppy. I tried making new friends, but my attempts seemed to be somewhat in vain. Since I went to a commuter campus, nearly everyone there lived less than 30 minutes away and had already established their friend groups. I was an outsider; an intruder.
I watched as people at my current college went home for the weekends to see their family and friends. I spent many nights nearly alone in the dorm. A person can only do so much studying before they start to want human contact. What I thought would force me into independence, in reality just cut me off from all contacts and resources. The thought of home repulsed me back in high school. I never thought I would want to go home during college, but once I was not constantly surrounded by my hometown, I started to miss it.
My heart ached as I scrolled through social media, seeing all of my friends from back home. They all appeared to be having an amazing time, having the adventure I longed to have during college, all without even leaving their home state. The pictures featured them hugging each other with bright, smiling faces. I yearned for that sort of happiness.
Going far away for college can be exhilarating, but it can also be lonely, especially if you're one of the only ones at your school from far away. As boring as your hometown may seem, you will likely miss it simply because you were used to it. Familiarity may seem mundane at first, but when surrounded by new and sometimes scary experiences, you can feel like you're drowning and familiarity might be your only life preserver. Your hometown is more than just a place. That's where you grew up. It holds a part of you.
I am in no way trying to discourage anyone from going far away for college. If you truly feel like you've found the perfect fit for you and it happens to be away from home, then by all means, go for it. However, just make sure you're choosing to go far away because of the school, not because of the distance.
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