For as long as I can remember, everyone's dream has been to go to college in a different state. However, once junior year came around, many realized that their dreams had changed to attending an in-state university. I used to imagine the day I would pack up my bags and move across the country to attend school. However, after a lot of thinking I decided to attend the University of Arizona, which is two hours away from where I have lived my whole life. Even though I was excited to go to school I couldn't help but wonder if going to an in-state university would be the same as everyone said it was. Some of the things I have heard throughout the years include: "It's basically the same thing as high school." "You won't meet any new people." "You'll go home so often." Many of these ideas stuck in my head while making my college decision and a big reason why I was hesitant to attend the University of Arizona. However, after completing my freshman year I am happy to say that these misconceptions are not true.
College is very different from high school, even if you choose an in-state school. The independence, class schedules, and extracurricular activities are all ways in which you meet new people, have new experiences, and as cliché as it sounds, find yourself. It's not the same thing as high school, you don't know everyone and it's rare that you run into someone you do know. There are so many opportunities to meet new people, whether it is joining a club, Greek life, or even meeting people in your dorm. And going home is up to you. Personally, I only went home during breaks, which is the same as people that go out of state. This made it feel special when I did go home because it was not a regular occurrence. But also, if you want to go home to visit your family, why is that such a bad thing? If anything going in state is nicer because it is more convenient.
Despite whether you go in or out of state, the experience of college is what you make it. If you want to meet new people and have new experiences know it is possible to do at any school. I think a lot of people have a negative association with going to an in-state school because people that have gone out of state talk about it as though it is impossible to do those same things at a school that is in the same state that you live. And it's not. So don't be afraid or feel ashamed for going in-state because it's pretty great if you ask me.