Some of us aren't so lucky, but there are many of us that are given an opportunity to travel for college and don't take it.
Five years ago I traveled 2,000 miles northwest to my new home. I was leaving to go to college and it was one of the most overwhelming feelings I've ever had. I was nervous, excited, sad, anxious and worried. Despite all my reservations, it was the best decision I've ever made.
It was hard leaving behind family and friends and it was even harder not knowing what the future would hold. It was a leap into the unknown. And in that unknown, I found out who I really was; what I was really made of.
Leaving home for school allows you to discover who you really are as your own person, not as a person under your family's shadow. You are able to live on your own and follow your own rules. It's your first test of adulthood. You get to make your own decisions without your parents peering over your shoulder. You can make mistakes without your family having to know.
Leaving allows you to start over. You realize that whatever happened in high school didn't matter. For those who hated those years, you can start over with a new identity. If you stay in town and live at home, branching out to meet new people becomes difficult.
When you leave home you'll meet some of your best friends. When I left, I didn't have anyone from at home with me, so I had no choice but to mingle. I met people from places I had never heard of that I will love and cherish for the rest of my life.
You could find the love of your life. I met a boy. I didn't feel like at home the guys were for me. He accepts me for who I am like no one I had met at home did. The people I met on this journey changed my life forever, and the only reason these people came into my life was because I took the chance.
You can always go home if it's not for you. You won't ever regret leaving, but you might regret staying. If you leave and don't like it, you can go home, but this might be the only opportunity to leave you'll have. Once I realized this, I knew it was something I had to do. I didn't want to have this regret the rest of my life.
Experiencing college in the place you grew up doesn't get you as much of a different experience. Yeah you probably loved growing up there, but how do you know what's out there isn't better? Having those different experiences in your life helps you grow as a person.
You might love it so much you want to stay. How will you know unless you try? Between the people I've met, the community, and the experience I had, I decided to stay at least two more years for another degree. This town felt like the place I belonged. It's worth the risk and remember, you can always go home.