As a first semester freshman, transitioning to a completely new city miles away from home added stress and fear to the already tumultuous change of graduation and adulthood. However, reflecting on the first semester of freshman year, I was surprised to realize just how much I learned and changed in a short four months. Much of my growth is accredited to my separation from home, a choice that initially seemed difficult. Although there are cases where leaving home just isn't possible, if doing so is a viable choice, there are strong benefits for leaving home.
1. Getting away from parents teaches independence.
This is probably the biggest reason for leaving: independence and freedom are often the most cited reasons for leaving home, a desire to escape the seemingly overbearing environment that your hometown conveys. Being away from parents allows you to develop your own identity and habits outside of the confines of home and away from the careful watch of parents, who often provide a support system that you’ve probably become too reliant on. Whether it is learning to manage time better, interacting with professors, waking up in time for classes, taking care of your health or even just doing laundry, learning to do these without the help of parents signals the first step towards adulthood.
2. You become forced to meet new people.
When you are put in an unfamiliar situation, you are forced to adapt to the new group. This sink-or-swim tactic may entail a few failures, but eventually you learn to meet new people and network − a vital skill that is important in the future. While the temptation of sticking with friends from home is often too strong to fight, moving to a new city full of different individuals all seeking to make friends makes the transition easier.
3. You learn new cultures.
No matter how far away you’re moving, whether it’s an hour or thirteen hours away, each city has its own unique culture and quirks that makes it special. Only by full immersing yourself in another city by moving are you able to truly understand different cultures and make them your own, expanding your own perspective and view of the world and stacking experiences for the future.
4. You make better connections.
Meeting new friends in college means you double your friend group, having friends both from back home and your college town. This allows you to expand your social circle more, and good friends are never a negative thing! These connections can also become essential in the future for jobs and networking experiences. In a new environment, you learn to realize you are surrounded by similar people you can relate with, but also completely different people that you can learn from. You also learn to appreciate the true friends in your life who stick with you even through long periods of not seeing each other.
5. You gain a second home.
My college campus became my second home and city, a place I missed after my first semester of freshman year. I was thrilled when I began to feel welcome and familiar around this initially strange and new city, soon owning it with a pride which had previously been reserved for my hometown. I knew I had chosen the right school when I realized how excited I was to go back to school and fall into the routine of college. Your college town will become our second home, a place with its own routines and traditions that are remembered years later.
6. You get the roommate experience.
The roommate experience is a vital one that seems to mark every teen’s entrance into the adult world. You learn to make and maintain your own space, understanding your living habits that will shape your future home.
7. You appreciate home more.
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and that’s what I learned while I was away. I began to miss the familiarity of home and the comfort and privacy of my room. More than anything, I missed my family and truly appreciated the time I spent with them in person. Any fights with siblings seemed irrelevant and meaningless, and I began to understand I took my time with family for granted. My relationships at home improved because I realized how valuable they were to me while I was away, growing my love for family and hometown.
Realizing I would be leaving the only city and people I knew to live in a completely different environment was definitely a terrifying experience, but this change was necessary to induce large growth. In a seemingly paradoxical way, moving away from home is necessary to gain an awareness of the world outside of home, yet also garner an appreciation for the very city you are leaving. New experiences and unfamiliar environments shape you to grow outside the safety net of familiarity and comfort, forcing you to become stronger and better adapted in the future to face any challenges that may arise. These risks, which initially may entail shortfalls and setbacks like homesickness, eventually are worth the sacrifice.
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