In high school, college is the most exciting yet terrifying experience that you know nothing about. It's a huge change in the everyday life of an 18-year-old and because of this many kids decide to stay close to home. Whether they want to stay close or the parents want them to, it is something that happens quite often.

I made the decision to leave Kentucky the moment I started looking into colleges. This was something a lot of people never quite understood, but I knew it was something I had to do. When I chose East Carolina University, 685 miles away, I was too excited to really understand how far it really was.

Going to a school this far away, and not knowing a single soul transformed me into the person I am today. I never realized how much I relied on my parents until they were gone, and too far away to go hide in their comfort.

Most kids try to stay within their high school friend groups and follow the trend when it comes to picking colleges. But being a person who intentionally left home, I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I learned how to live alone, take care of myself, make my own friends and really put myself out there in a place that was so foreign. I had never been to North Carolina and didn't know absolutely anything about it. Being so far away allowed me to branch out and figure out who I really am and who I was supposed to be.

This experience has accelerated my independence to a whole new level, and I feel like I truly know who I am and who I am supposed to be. I honestly feel like any kid who has the opportunity to move far away for college should take the risk. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made and I will make my children do the same thing.

Taking risks is scary, and moving so far away so young can be terrifying. I too was scared, but I quickly learned that this decision shaped me into the person I am today, and I love that it did.

Go the extra mile.