Yes, you read that right. Moving away was the worst decision I ever made.
Most people claim that moving away helped them find themselves, helped them grow into a person bigger than their high-school small-town self. That must be incredible! However, my experience wasn't like that.
I grew up in a school with a graduating class around 180.
I was there the entire time, from Kindergarten to graduation. I wasn't voted homecoming queen or known as the popular girl in school, but I wasn't bullied and I wasn't an outcast. I took AP classes and dual-enrolled, but I wasn't the top of my class (or even top 20). I volunteered and worked in organizations, but wasn't the honored student at any NHS events or president of any clubs. I fit in just fine where I was, and I knew it.
My hometown was my safety net, and I was well aware of its position securely underneath me.
I had it in my mind that in order to do better, I would need to get out of my comfort zone. I had to fall through the safety net. I would need to distance myself in order to succeed, pushing my way to a better "self" by simply experiencing something different.
I could start over. I absolutely refused to go somewhere close by, or somewhere other people I knew were going. I had also decided on a major early on-- Speech Pathology. SLP is only offered at a few colleges in Michigan, and if you live in Michigan you know it's impossible to go to college out of state.
My choice was basically made for me, I thought. I refused to look into any other colleges, believing that this choice was the best simply because it was fresh and new. I was going to school on the other side of the state, two hours from my hometown.
I went into college basically blind. This wasn't me being careless. It was me procrastinating. Instead of getting ahead of the game and researching the campus or potential opportunities, I found myself putting it off.
I refused to try out organizations or apply for leadership roles, claiming that it wasn't worth it and I needed to "adjust" before I did anything.
When I got to campus and moved into my dorm room, I found myself stuck. I made countless excuses not to get involved on campus. I didn't work for a few months, which was a sharp change from the concrete work schedule I had before. Everything came to a screeching halt.
Suddenly I found myself in a deep depression.
I had struggled with depression before, but this was different. Instead of going to parties and meeting my new bestie as I dreamed of, I was wallowing around in my dorm room. Each day was a struggle to get out of bed or to do my homework. Soon, the Freshman 15 turned into more than I care to admit. My life was suddenly revolved around going to class, sitting alone at the Commons, and returning back to my dorm to sleep. I was miserable.
What made it worse what that I was away from everything and everyone I loved back home.
If I would have been back home, I'm sure that I wouldn't have fallen in the first place, and even if I did I would have a support system to get me through the worst of it. Because I was separated from everything, I was completely alone.
Now, I'm still recovering. I'm not going to lie and say that I'm back to my old happy self, with the magic of face masks and staying hydrated. I'm also not going to claim that you should never move away from home, and you should remain in the same situation all of your life.
What I'm saying is that the best thing to do is what I never did: evaluate yourself.
Do you have a plan? Do you really have a plan? Is moving away really the best thing for your life, or are you just using it as an escape?
Just because you move away, doesn't mean you're magically going to get the life you've always wanted. Breaking through your safety net is great if you have a spring underneath to bounce you higher and you look before you jump. You don't want to end up on the concrete.