Choosing where to go to college is an enormous decision. There are so many things to consider, including the location of all the schools you're looking at. You don't want to overestimate yourself, but you don't want to take the easy route. Let me tell you, going out of state is the best decision you can make. If you're independent and wanting to try something new and going out of state has been in the back of your mind all senior year - do it. You will grow and learn and it will be hard, but man oh man will you love it. It's not for everyone, but if you're even a little bit considering it - do it. Here are 9 honest things to help you think realistically about all that going out of state means.

1. You will get more mail than you’ve ever gotten in your life.

One exciting part about going to school out of state is that people are way more likely to send you cards and packages than if you’re just down the street. It’s exciting to get something in the mail, and it’s also fun to send things yourself. If you go to school out of state, make sure to add stamps and envelopes to your packing list.

2. You will miss all of the high school games.

Unless you’re able to make it home for a weekend or two, plan on missing out on the high school games. When they make it to tournament and all of your high school friends who are in-state get to go, you will be one of the few that don’t. When your siblings make it onto the high school team, be prepared to miss most of their games. This is just one of those things that comes with the distance and ends up hurting a little more than you’ll expect.

3. You will miss the birthdays.

Your dad’s, your best friend’s, your own, you are going to miss a lot of birthdays once you’re a plane ride away. Be prepared to see the pictures and hear the “We wish you were here!”’s because they’re going to make you wish you were there, too.

4. Travel is going to get real expensive, real quick.

Get ready for some expensive trips home. Whether it’s paying for all the gas it’s going to take, a bus ticket, or a plane ticket, by going to school out of state you are agreeing to swallow the price when it comes to going home. Suddenly dropping a couple hundred on a plane ticket won’t seem unrealistic. Start the coin jar now.

5. People are way more likely to visit you.

This is super fun. By going out of state, your friends are going to come visit you and they are going to stay for longer than a night or even a weekend. Once someone has to pay for a plane ticket, they’re willing to stay for a longer amount of time. This means you get to show your favorite people from home around your new favorite place, and you don’t have to rush to do it. Everything will be new and exciting and there will be no shortage of things to do with your visitors. This also means you should invest in a good air mattress and an extra pillow.

6. You will miss a lot of long weekends and spring breaks.

Going to school out of state usually means that you’re on a different schedule than the schools at home. This might mean you start school early, you don’t have the same long weekends, or you don’t have the same spring break. It’s always fine until you see everyone from home in one picture together, and it just kind of hurts your heart that you’re not there. Of course, you can still go home if you need to, just prepare yourself to be on different schedules than most of your childhood friends.

7. You will go on adventures like never before.

Now that you’re on a different schedule than home and in a different state, you are going to be faced with two options. You can either spend your weekends in your bed, looking through the Instagram pictures of best friends getting to see each other at home or siblings being together for the weekend, or you can get out and do something that no one at home can do. If you choose to do this, you will strengthen the school friendships that you bring along with you, and you will do things and go places that you never would have if you had the opportunity to go home every weekend. You will get to see new places and try new things, and I promise it will become just as sweet as getting to go home for the weekend.

8. Time at home will become 1,000 times sweeter.

Since you’re not going home every weekend, everyone at home will know when you’re home. People will be so excited to see you. Your family and friends will want to spend so much time with you. They will also have learned that your time home is short, and they will jam pack it with so much love and so many hugs you won’t even know what to do. Coming home will turn into a big party with so many of your favorite people. There will never be enough time to catch up on the life that has happened. You will have so many stories to tell and so many people who are eager to hear. Going out of state makes you have an entirely new appreciation for going home.

9. It's the best decision you could make.

If you’re independent, craving a challenge, and love the idea of trying something new, go out of state. You will think that you can’t handle it, and the truth is there will be plenty of days where you can’t. But you will learn so, so much. For real so much. About yourself and about friendships and relationships and family and distance, and your definition of home will be shattered and rebuilt into something entirely new. You will make stronger friendships than ever before and just see so many things in a different way. Don’t be afraid to take the leap, it will be so worth it.