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May 31 2015
by Kayla Reardon

Why I Decided to Go Out of State for College

By Kayla Reardon - May 31 2015

Greensboro, North Carolina is a town that is not too small, but not too large. It’s not small enough to where everyone knows everything about everyone — but you’ve probably heard their name somewhere before. The south is a great place for many people, but not for me. Sure, North Carolina has Charlotte and Raleigh, but they pale in comparison to New York and Chicago.

Next fall I will be trading in this medium-sized southern gem for a hustling-bustling city: Chicago. Well, I’ll technically be just outside of the city in Evanston, Illinois, where I’ll be attending Northwestern University.

The first thing people say when I tell them where I am going to school is: “Wow! That’s so far away!” You bet it is. I’ve loved my time in North Carolina; however, I do not think I could last another year here. The south is not for me. I do love camping, hiking and backpacking, but those are not necessarily southern activities. I cannot imagine continuing my life in the south.

One of my favorite questions to ask a person about college is why they picked the school they did. For me, it came down to two things: location and opportunity.

Though I was born and raised in a small town, that life is not for me. My mother knew I would (probably) head somewhere larger for college. Even my college dean said she could not imagine me anywhere further south or anywhere rural.

I also knew, however, that I still wanted the college campus feeling. I still wanted that sense of community that came from living on a campus that was not so easily entered by the outside world.

With busy cities come businesses. Businesses provide internships. The most important aspect I found myself searching for in a college was how strong their internship programs were. The greatest opportunity for interning was in colleges near, or in, large cities. I knew that I would find the best internships in the urban setting.

Besides the educational importance of my decision to leave North Carolina next fall, there are also some more casual reasons for the change. I’ve always felt more at home in larger cities. I love the constant movement, the culture, the buildings, the traffic — everything! Cities have an allure unlike any other location. There is always something going on.

Freedom is something that is always associated with college. Going out of state — especially to a college that is several states away — gives you a whole different idea of freedom. I am less likely to be home during the school year and that excites me. I get to experience a new world, practically, and all on my own.

The idea of meeting new people is another exciting point of college. Going out of state allows you to meet not only new people — but a new type of people. We get so used to the trends and habits of our hometown that we forget that there is a whole other world out there where people do totally different things. Going out of state will allow me to broaden my horizons and experience something entirely new.

One piece of advice I have for those who are contemplating going out of state for college is to just do it! If you find a place that is right for you — and you can make it work financially — then do not hold yourself back from immersing in something entirely new. If I’m being honest, I’m kind of nervous, but it is overshadowed by the sheer excitement of being able to completely restart — even more so than other college freshmen.

Lead Image Credit: Erik Schepers

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Kayla Reardon - Northwestern University

Kayla Reardon is a freshman at Northwestern University majoring in journalism. She had several stories published in her hometown paper during her senior year of high school. She enjoys tumblr, music, and scary movies. Follow her on twitter @KaylaSReardon.

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