This fall, I will attend a college that’s only a short commute from my house. It’s my state’s flagship university and even though I used to dream of going to college in a different part of the country, I already know I wasn’t wrong to choose a local college.
Two years ago, at the beginning of the lengthy college selection process, I refused to think about going to a local school. I was sure that even if I lived on campus, I would be suffocated by my familiarity with the area and would have to put up with seeing my family every day. I set my heart on attending a college hundreds of miles away and decided that college would be no fun if I had to be near my hometown.
Last summer, my family and I helped my older sister move in to her dorm for her freshman year of college. She goes to a local private college so I assumed that she would quickly become bored by the familiar city and that we would see her all the time.
As the year began, I heard all about my sister’s life in college. She told me and about shops and parks around the campus and about her friends from all over the country. Whenever she wanted to see my family or get something from home, she could easily do so. Rather than being bored of familiar places and people, my sister had an amazing freshman year and even benefited from being close to my family.
This spring, I was faced with a big decision: my final college was narrowed down to an in-state college and another quite far from home. It was a quick decision because I knew that the local university not only matched my interests more, but that staying close to home would have its benefits, as I’d learned from my sister.
When I returned to visit my college of choice, I realized how unfamiliar the campus was — even though the drive from my house was only 20 minutes away. I was excited to get lost and see an area I actually didn’t know very well. With thousands of people I had never met before and an intricate maze of buildings, this college will be anything but familiar on my first day.
Soon some of you will have a long road trip or even a plane ride to your colleges, while some of you will remain a short commute away from home. Every one of you has a reason to be excited: on every college campus — no matter how close to home — you will be greeted by new people and new places.
Lead Image Credit: Jill Clardy