Going to college far away is better in many aspects, but sometimes it takes the background information to know why.

In my hometown, everyone knew me since I was a baby, which can put a restraint on your ability to grow as a person. I wanted to find myself, not continue to pretend to be the person that they expected me to be. My education was originally from Conway Christian School, and I felt the need to conform and be perfect.

I forgot who I was and who I wanted to become because I spent too much time trying to impress the people there, or to be someone that they would respect even slightly. The last two years of my high school education were spent at the Academy for Technology and Academics, which I chose because it was one place were I wasn't well known. The small town life didn't touch it because it was a school that incorporated "base" schools but joined the groups together. I was in a new environment that helped shape who I am today. Being able to be myself is why I chose Lander.

I was scared to be alone in the beginning, around people unaware of my mental health and how I react to certain situations, but I was happy because it was a new beginning that helped prove to me that I am stronger than I ever thought. I was able to find who I want to be as an adult without the outside pressure to conform to the life that I was brought up in. Going to Lander or any University that is far from home gives you the space to branch out, to become someone different, and to learn about yourself on a deeper level.

Learning how to cope with the stress of school without running to our parents because they're a short drive away, or figuring out how to solve life's many problems without that helping hand creates a better life for yourself in the end, because you know what you are capable of. I took the space away from my family and noticed that I am headstrong, determined, powerful, and I can make my own life without the help of others.

Take a chance and go away to college, it can be scary but you won't regret the time away and the chance to learn who you truly are.