There is definitely a I-chose-to-go-to-school-far-as-hell-from-home struggle that we all go through. It's especially strong when you go to a school that has tons of kids from the local area or region. However, there's always the group of out-of-staters and international students going through the struggle.
Our new homes come with amazing independence, and our parents definitely can't monitor us from this far away, but there are still things we worry about and miss when we depart our homes for an entirely new state, region or country.
1. Watching friends go Home for the weekend like "well, that's not happening."
I wonder if people have seen my eyes bulge out of my head when people say they're casually heading home for the weekend. Then it hits me, they just have to drive 40 minutes or sit on a bus for a couple hours. I have friends who can get home for as little as 18 dollars on a Peter Pan bus. Meanwhile, it would take me and my other far-fetched friends a few hundred dollars and a lot more than a 3 day weekend.
2. You get a ridiculously fresh start.
For most of us heading far, we know absolutely nobody at our school or even in our new hometown. Even if you have that one kid from high school with you, you probably never run into them. There's nothing following you to school when you go that far from home, and that's one of the nicest opportunities that going to college far away presents.
3. Having no clue how to prepare for the winter.
This is probably true for anyone moving from the south to the north like I did. My friends from the Northeast always give me and the other far-offers the "you have no clue what you're in for," look. That, or they gawk at what we think are winter jackets. My friends and roommate like to laugh at the sheer terror I feel for the imminent snow and ice storms, but I see it as an opportunity to add some new additions to my winter wardrobe.
4. Being like "????" when people mention regional grocery stores.
Where is Publix? What is Stop 'n' Shop? Do you guys even have Target here? I'm not sure if we're talking groceries, clubs or golf courses. Just point me to the nearest national chain.
5. Using words from your region and getting weird stares.
If you move even slightly out of your regional borders this will apply to you. The first time I said "y'all" here in the Northeast (and I don't even have an accent) everyone around me stared. I'm sure this is also true for the Hoagie v. Sub debate and soda v. pop conundrum, but it rings most true for international students. I'm already hearing the stories of professors asking, "why do you spell color with a 'u'?" or in my case, asking, "why do you say 'scone' like 'scon'?"
6. Cravings for your favorite local foods.
This is true no matter if you moved an hour or a country away. We all have that food from our hometown or that our mom made us that we simply can't live without. I miss my favorite breakfast bagel and brew from my go-to coffee shop back home. My roommate feels like she may die if she goes another day without an Avocado. I took an English friend to a movie and he was heartbroken when we didn't have sweet popcorn. The worst part is, there are only so many foods that can be effectively and safely sent through the mail.
7. Holiday travel plans make your head hurt.
Again, we go back to those darn kids who came from a shorter distance. While they take their busses home, or coordinate driving schedules with friends and parents, us long distance kids are buying expensive plane tickets, trying to avoid the right-after-finals-but-before-christmas price hikes, weighing our bags, and trying to figure out how we can possibly bring anything back with us in our itty, bitty carry ons. Christmas isn't so bad, given that we've got at least a few weeks worth of home-time worth traveling for. But sometimes, with Thanksgiving breaks being only a couple days long, it's almost impossible to go home and celebrate at all.
8. Needing to coordinate time-zones to FaceTime family and friends.
This isn't so bad for most people, but if you go from the American west coast to the east coast (or vise versa) or are a student from overseas, the struggle is so real. It takes a decent amount of brain power to be able to plan an hour long call in the midst of a 5+ hour difference, busy schedules, and sleep cycles. This doesn't even factor in the potential long-distance or international calling costs.
9. Missing your pets so bad it hurts.
This goes back to the darn kids who head homes some weeks to pet their cats and dogs. When you're that far away, fido and kitty are way too far out of reach to snuggle. At college, with a shortage of fluffy animals to enjoy, seeing pictures of your animals back home is really tortuous. And it reminds us of the fact that we didn't have a good way to explain to our pets that we were moving away and wouldn't be at home with them anymore.
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