You're finally free from the confines of your hometown. You don't have to travel the same roads, go to the same hang-out spots, or see everyone that you know. You will finally be a part of a greater community of diverse and determined people that want to achieve the same goals that you're reaching for.

But wait a minute. Before you jump off the boat, you should turn around.

Who is there standing behind you?

Who are the people who have shown you relentless support (financially, emotionally, etc.) and picked you up when you were down?

That's right. Your family.

Without them, you probably wouldn't even be going to college. You wouldn't be given the freedom to experience collegiate life and meet new people to network with... Or even make those lifelong friends.

These people are giving you the ability to mature, flourish, and learn. Sure, there will be nights where you'll avoid doing any of that. You'll go out on the town with your friends, perhaps go drinking, and wake up on the floor of your dorm room or apartment, wondering where the time went. But that's all a part of the experience. (As long as you don't participate in that too often.)

You're there to improve yourself, learn about yourself, and find your passions. Never forget that. There's enough life left in all of us to party on the weekends, but never put that before your work. You have people rooting for you to succeed and to make sure you don't fall behind on the thing you wanted to do the most.

There are people guiding you to greatness and you cannot ignore it. Your parents might be working overtime, two jobs, or more than that, just to help you pay for the costs of higher education. If you have siblings, they probably sacrificed a lot for them, too (or will sacrifice a lot for them).

These are the people who will continue to care for you as college drains your assets. These are the people who will send you money when you have none or care packages when you're feeling homesick and broke. They'll forever be by your side, especially through college, as things get harder and harder. Your family will pick up the phone during your breakdowns (that you definitely will have, no matter your major), build you up when your grades aren't reflecting your hard work, and keep you sane until the end.

You owe a lot to the people who helped you get this far and who will be there when you surpass this stage in your life. You'll regret it if you forget to thank these people. Let them know what they mean to you before you wave to their car as they drive away. Let them know that you appreciate them.

Family is forever and never take that for granted.