I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I grew up in a small community called, "Bay View." Bay View is a small sub-community on the Southside of Milwaukee. I currently attend school in my hometown at the University of Milwaukee campus which is located on the east side of the city.

I never gave too much thought in high school about where I wanted to attend college. Everyone seemed like they had their lives together and figured out as early as our freshman year of high school, but I had no idea. All I remember as a freshman was that I wanted to go somewhere very far away, and look at me now. I am here, living on campus 15 minutes away from the home I grew up in.

In high school, I was constantly around people who didn't want to be in Milwaukee. Everyone wanted to get away, go across the country, some even out of the country. All they knew was they did not want to be here for any longer then they had too. For some reason I never understood why the school in your area always had such a bad connotation with people. I would get weird looks when I told people at my high school where I was going to college. Someone isn't better than you just because they went to a different state for college, or even a different city.

A lot of people in my high school thought they were better than you just because they were going away to college other than Milwaukee. They would say how easy UWM was to get into, and how it is not a hard school. Yet, it is still a University. I am going to have the same struggles you do at your big school in another state. Truly, there is no difference. So no, you are not better than me.

I decided to stay in Milwaukee for various reasons. One reason is because my family is here, and I knew staying close to them was crucial for the state of mind I was in at the time, and crucial for my growth. College is a transition that takes some time getting used to, and I wanted my family next to me in order to help me through that transition. Another reason is because I know this city. I know how it functions; I just didn't want to start over. I felt comfortable with where I am, and that's okay.

I think people our age are so quick to want to run away from home right after high school, and usually, a significant amount of them usually come back at some point. I was one of those people who never felt like they needed to totally get away. I love the city I was raised in, and I'm not yet done exploring it.

Yes, it is not easy to watch all of your friends go away for college when you stay at home. When they left, it was like I had to rediscover my city all over again with a new group of friends, which was definitely hard. However at the same time, it was exciting to share my favorite places and city with those who have not yet experienced it. At the end of the day I realized that it is okay to stay where you are comfortable, and if staying home for college is what you want, do it!

Don't let anyone influence your choice, make decisions for yourself and that make you happy!