Do You Ever Get Stuck Wondering "What If?"

Do You Ever Get Stuck Wondering "What If?"

What if I choose that college 511 miles away?

As senior year of high school rolled around, the one question every future college student pondered was, "What if?"

Do you ever get stuck wondering, "What if?"

What if I go to school 511 miles away?

What if I stay here?

What happens if I leave everything behind?

Will I be able to start over again?

All these questions were the very things I wondered every day in the fall of my senior year. I had only one big move in my entire life, and that was in my early childhood. Flash forward 12 years, and the college opportunities ahead were endless... I could apply anywhere, get accepted and go anywhere I wanted. No more county lines, zip codes or school districts would serve as a boundary anymore. So I asked myself, "What will I do?"

I applied to seven schools, four of them out of state and the closest one three hours away. Throughout high school, I watched old friends move to new places and start a new life in a new school, make a new identity for themselves and watched them thrive. I was secretly envious while I was stuck in the same exact school with the same exact people from 1st grade to senior year.

When it was finally my turn to pick colleges, I knew I had to start over. I used to dream about my parents telling me we were moving, walking into a new school with much friendlier people and embracing a fresh atmosphere...Until the alarm rang on Monday morning to wake me up from an alternate reality my heart wanted so badly. Every time, after realizing it was only a "What if life was different?" dream, I used to sit in my bed for several minutes and almost cry from how sad I was to return to the place that hurt me so much.

At last, 2017 arrived and before I knew it, I committed and visited my future home for the first time. And when we came, I felt like a weight was lifted off my chest, like I could finally breathe again and see the light at the end of this seemingly never-ending tunnel.

But oh my, was the road to recovery difficult. The choice to move away to attend college out of state is not a spur of the moment decision. It required us to sit down as a family and have serious talks.

Being an out of state student means that I can't go home on the weekends as I please. My parents can't take a day trip up to take care of me if I get sick, which means I had to learn how to take care of myself in order to stay healthy. I took all the financial, physical and emotional responsibilities upon myself. Trying to balance a social life, enough sleep, healthy eating habits and managing academic stress along with homesickness is far from easy.

Part of living 511 miles away means that I have to navigate the headache of very long and treacherous bus rides home, dedicating two full days of my breaks to the 8-hour drive to and from campus and cutting time away that could be spent at home. When I first arrived in Athens, I was in tears by the end of the first week. I was homesick, scared and unsure if I could handle the enormous task of not leaving Ohio for 3 months, getting a visit from mom and dad once every month (or two) and making friends with people I've never seen before in my life.

I went from having nothing going for me here, to turning it around and making it so I now have everything going for me here: my friends, my social life, my school, my new home, my new life. I had to struggle with my raging insecurities by myself and learn how to step outside the safe bubble I lived in for so long, and sometimes that meant feeling like a fish out of water in a place where everyone seemed to know each other, someone's parent, sibling, cousin, grandparent, aunt or uncle went here and now they're a legacy.

The first semester was an uphill battle of managing travel costs home, out of state tuition, adjusting to the rigor of my major and learning to accept my first ever F in a class.

But if I hadn't chosen Ohio University and decided to play it safe, to go to a local college, come home on the weekends and stick with my previous classmates in a place I knew inside and out, I would have been left wondering, "What if?"

What if I did take that leap of faith and move far away?

Would things be different? Would I be happier?

Would I have found a new home?

The questions circling around in my head would never leave me alone. But every tear, every mishap and every heartbreak has only helped to shape me into the strong, independent woman I am today because I took that jump and instead of giving reasons why it wouldn't work, I made reasons why it would.

So to any high school senior thinking about moving hundreds or even thousands of miles away from home to go to college, remember that it is a very serious decision and it is not to be taken lightly. However, if you choose to do so, I promise you it'll be the adventure of a lifetime. Because "If we were meant to stay in one place, we'd have roots instead of feet..." - Rachel Wolchin

And if you take away one thing from this today, remember this: "It's better to cross the line and suffer the consequences than to just stare at that line for the rest of your life."

Cover Image Credit: Anna Kropov

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It Took Me 4 Years And $100K To Realize Why Poor Kids Like Me Don’t Go To College

But now that I know, I can't get it out of my mind.


I grew up poor.

There, I said it. It's out in the open now—I don't come from a family that has a bunch of money. In fact, my family doesn't have much money at all. My single mother works in fast food and does a DAMN good job trying to support herself and the rest of us. A lot of the food my family gets comes from food pantries. We have received government assistance before. I grew up poor, but I haven't let that define me.

Especially when it came to going to college.

I didn't want to let my economic background hold me back from my potential. I wanted to be the first person on both sides of my family to receive my college degree. I wanted to get a better paying job and moving up in socioeconomic status so I don't have to be the "poor" girl with the "poor" family all my life. I'm not really ashamed of coming from a poor family, but I also don't want to be poor my entire life.

For a majority of my college career, I wondered why there weren't many poor students around me at college. I go to a public university, and it's just the same price as any other state school really. Coming from a lower income home, I did receive a lot of assistance, and without it, there's no way in hell I could be here. I know that many other lower-income students can get this same assistance, which really made me wonder why there was such a lack of other poor kids around me.

I mean, everyone posts videos from their nice, upper-middle-class homes on Snapchat over holiday breaks while I go back home to the trailer park.

Everyone can call mom or dad and ask for money when things get rough while I pay for 100% of the things I own because my mother simply cannot afford it.

Everyone walks around in their name-brand clothes while I'm rocking Walmart knockoffs. It's not something I thought about for a couple years in college, but once I noticed it, I couldn't think of anything else.

It took me nearly all four years of college to realize why there's such a lack of poor students at my average, public university. Poor students are set up for failure in college. It's almost designed to be a survival of the fittest when it comes to us lower-income students, and those of us who are deemed the fittest and do make it to graduation day are typically stuck with a lot of debt that we don't have the financial intelligence or support to even think about paying off.

Poor students are in the minority in college, and when you're in a minority anywhere, surviving can be difficult. When it costs $100 just for a 5-digit code to do your homework, it can be hard to stay in school. When the cost of living on campus is $10,000 or rent for an apartment is nearly $500 a month, it can be hard to stay in school. When you don't have a car because you can't save up the money for one and your parents can't help you, it can be hard to stay in school. When you're forced to get a minimum wage, on-campus job that limits your to twenty hours a week, it can be hard to stay in school. When all of your friends don't understand why you can't go out to eat or to the bar every weekend, it can be hard to stay in school. All of these reasons add up to the main reason why poor kids don't go to college—the odds are stacked against us.

I never had shame in my socioeconomic status until I went to college. In my hometown, I wasn't much less than the norm. Now, my home life is drastically different than that of all of my friends. I know that this is something that is never going to change because when I enter the workforce in less than a year, I'll be going in as the first member of my family with a college degree. People will treat me differently when I tell them this, even if I don't want them to. People will treat me differently when they ask where my parents work and I tell them McDonald's. It's an unfortunate reality that I cannot control.

It took me nearly all four years to realize why poor kids don't go to college, but now that I know, I can't get it off my mind.

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5 Tips For Handling A Quarter Life Crisis

Don't know what to do with your life, me either


I thought I had my entire life figured out; career, graduate school, moving. All of it. But maybe I was wrong. I have already been accepted to graduate school, have my internship/capstone figured out but then I was given an opportunity of a lifetime to do a different internship that made me question if my plan was the right plan for me. It was terrifying, stressful and difficult to figure out what to do because it affects the rest of my life. But there are some tips you can do to keep your cool.



Write that shit down. Take a piece of paper and plan out where each path could take you and the steps you need to take to get to each goal on the path. Seeing it all on paper will slow you down and help determine if what you're thinking is even an option.

2.    Talk to people


Talk it out, talk to your friends, your family, your advisor. Talk to anyone you can about your plan. You will hear other people's opinions and thoughts. They may have thought of a factor that you didn't. It will help you better understand your thoughts when you explain your tornado brain to someone else.

 3.    Be Open


This was REALLY hard for me. I talked to probably five different people about the change in life choices and heard both positive and negative thoughts. It is important to be open and listen to the negative idea even if it seems like you're being attacked. It will make you think, are you really prepared for 4-8 more years of school (or whatever else it may be).

 4.    Breathe and Stress Relieve 


YES, this is 100% one of the biggest most stressful decision you have to make but it is also incredibly important that you are patient, and calm throughout the entire process. It is easier said than done, trust me but take five steps back, seven deep breaths and 20 minutes to relieve the built-up stress. Go to the gym, listen to music, paint, do whatever is going to put a smile on your face and calm you. Then come back to the problem with a clear head to think and process all the options.

5.    Don’t be afraid


It is literally terrifying when you feel lost, and unsure of what to do with your life. Especially if your family is super strict and you want to keep everyone happy. But REMEMBER it is YOUR life. YOUR future. You have to worry about what is the best option for you and what will make you happy in the long run. Even if it is harder and going to take longer. Be concerned about YOURSELF and not what anyone else thinks of you.

Quarter life crises are totally normal and not fun. Don't feel like you're alone or a failure for being unsure. It is good to explore all your options and be the happiest you can be. If that takes a little freak out and some stress so is it. Just use these steps to make the best of it.

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