I am originally from Tempe, Arizona. I have now finished my freshman year at the University of Kentucky.
I cannot stress this enough, going out of state was the best decision of my life.
I was eighteen years old when I decided to pick up my entire life and move 2,400 miles away to my new home in Lexington, Kentucky. I had no friends attending the school, no immediate family within driving distance. I was completely on my own.
I'm not gonna lie, I cried a lot when I was leaving my home town. Arizona had all my friends and family. I had all my favorite spots there. I knew where everything was. It was familiar to me. But sometimes, you need to let go of what is familiar to you. Get out of your comfort zone. I did, and I will be forever grateful that I made that decision.
Saying goodbye is the hardest part. What everyone needs to remember is, that goodbye isn't forever, it is only temporary.
The most important part about going out of state is putting in the effort. The effort to make friends, to try and build connections with people. That is what can make or break your out of state experience.
I decided to rush a sorority because I thought it was my best opportunity to make friends. I thought if I joined a sorority, I would have over 300 girls to call my 'sisters' in a matter of weeks of being there. Little did I know, I was going to meet my best friends in the hallway of my college dorm. These eight girls who all lived next to me are the reason I will be returning to my school for the rest of my college degree. I couldn't imagine my so-called 'college' experience without them.
We were all placed in a rush group together. That's how I originally met them. We had to sit in our dorm lounge and play 'ice breaker' games. Every single one of us in that group was all out of state kids except one. So we all were unfamiliar with each other. That was the best part. We all leaned on each other from the very beginning because we all didn't have anyone else. As time went on, all eight of us realized we all worked well together. All of us a little different, but in the best possible ways. A few of us outgoing, to push the shy ones like me out of their shell. Or some with the most random sense of humor, to always keep us laughing. Also, some who always could tell if one of us was upset, and gave us a shoulder to lean on when necessary.
I will always keep that year in Haggin Hall in my heart forever. Our Bachelor nights in our study rooms. The usual dinners in the dining hall. The nights we spent laughing for hours in my suitemate's room. The all-nighters we pulled helping each other study during exam week. Our nights of constantly getting told to quiet down in the library because we all couldn't help but make jokes instead of studying. Our random weekend trips to the local coffee shops. We rarely got time alone, but it never bothered me for a second. Whenever I was with them, I was always smiling. I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.
I will never understand how I got so lucky by meeting my best friends in Haggin Hall floor 4. We are all now going into our sophomore year. All of us living with each other in our own apartments, and planning on living together for the rest of our time at college.
Moving across the country is far from easy, but finding your people makes all of it worth it. Thank you, to the girls on the corner of Haggin Hall floor 4. I don't know if I'd be coming back to Kentucky if I hadn't met you guys.