I remembered when I entered high school, people told me that the real best four years of my life would be college. The years of high school flew by, and before I knew it, I started applying to college. I was applying to what would be the best four years of my life. Now, I was being told that I had to go away for school because it was my time to grow and be independent from my family. It was my time to experience and learn for myself. I was excited for this new milestone. I was excited to get away and live the life that people told me I should try to go for because it was the ideal way of living my college experience. With everything that I was being told, I ended up forming an image of myself away at college.
I broke away from that image. I ended up staying home for college.
I remember not being the happiest person knowing that I was staying home for college, especially since most of my friends were going away. I felt like I was missing out from something. I remember seeing posts like, "I can't wait to start my new journey here!" with a decorated dorm room. It felt like I wasn't doing something right, and at one point, I didn't feel as excited in starting college. At least it was not as excited as my friends were.
Fast forward to today, three years later, I can say that staying home for college was one of the best things for me. I've learned a lot of things about myself, and I've continue to grow as a person. And even more, I realized a few things throughout these years.
1. College is a rollercoaster of battles.
Regardless of whether you're home or away for school, you will go through similar scenarios because it is part of life. You will go through meeting new people, leaving friend groups, heart breaks, name them all. You will find yourself in those situations because it is inevitable. You will find yourself pulling all nighters for some exams or last minute assignments. You will find yourself trying to prioritize your social life, school, and possibly even sleep. It's a bunch of test trials in figuring out what works for you and what you can pull off, whether you are home or away for college.
2. Opportunities are always in front of you.
Just because you were not able to live the college experience away from home, that does not mean you cannot have the same experiences. You can still join a sorority. You can still meet an overwhelming amount of new people. There are always opportunities in front of you. It is whether you take it or not. You can decide to grieve over the fact that you did not go away for school, or you can decide to put yourself out there and enjoy your time. You can decide to use the excuse that you don't have the same opportunities that your other friends do, but truth is, you do. You just need to go for it.
3. You may not have the freedom you'd like away from home, but you work with it.
Sometimes you wonder how it feels to just be able to walk out of your dorm and go to your friend's room. You wonder how that freedom feels where you don't think of your parents asking you where you're going on a late night. Maybe your parents aren't as strict, but you still don't have the freedom that your other friends do. You live and you learn. You learn to create a relationship with your parents. You learn to grow your own sense of independence from them, even if you're living at home with them.
4. College is what you make of it.
Whether you go away for college or you stay home, if you do not make the most of out of your time and experience, there wouldn't be a difference. You can have still have the best four years of your life if you really make the most of your time. You can decide to sit at home or sit in your dorm, and you will get the same result. However, if you take all the opportunities and get yourself out there, you will have just as great of an experience as someone going away for college.
In life, everything is what you make out of it. The doors are always open, but you have to enter them, and take advantage of the journeys in front of you. Life is what you make out of it.