Three years ago, I visited The University of Iowa just on a whim. I knew I wanted to attend a big school after coming from such a small town. I wanted to be part of The Big Ten. I received an informational letter in the mail from Iowa and decided that maybe a visit wouldn't be so bad. Turns out, I fell in love with the campus from the minute I stepped onto it. It's really hard to give you an accurate feeling of what it was like to instantly know that this would be my next home. Everyone was so welcoming and kind, and I admit I was overwhelmed. I knew almost all of my graduating class from high school and I knew here I would be lucky to know 50 out of the 5,000.
I've always been close with my family and I thought that leaving them would be easy. I was so eager to move on to bigger and better things and start a new page in my book of life. I made it through about two weeks without being homesick and then it hit me. From then on and even now sometimes, I hate going home because I know I'll have to leave my family and high school friends again. I'm only two hours away from home so it's not too much of a hassle to go back if I need to, and sometimes you just need a weekend with your family. But, I'm going to tell you why leaving home was one of the best and hardest decisions I've ever made.
Am I somewhat disappointed that I don't see many people from high school now or that I only get to spend weekends (if that) with my family? Yes. But I can't tell you how much living away from home has taught me and helped me prepare for what is coming next. I graduate in a year and won't ever live at home again. If I would have stayed at home for college I really don't think I would have ever left after that. It's too easy to stay in your old ways and where you feel comfortable. Don't fall into that trap. Move away, move out, even if it's only an hour or two away. You learn to take responsibility for yourself and maybe others like roommates when they are in need. You don't have people watching over your every move so you have to make the best decisions for yourself. In other words, it puts you into a real-life 'adulting' phase, which I'm sure arrived way sooner than you thought it would.
You learn to prioritize. Do you really need to go to that party or should you study? Should you buy that new outfit or spend your money on groceries? I don't have it all down yet, but I'm learning. I'm learning to care for myself and become a stronger, more independent woman. Leaving home is tricky and gives you a mixture of emotions all at once but I urge you to take the risk. Give another city or school a chance and figure out what works for you. Be open to new experiences and allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. Home will always be home and you can always move back, but don't live with the regret of what could have been. Do it while you're young and don't live with the 'what ifs.'
Moving away may not be the best fit for everyone, but you'll never know until you experience it for yourself. Don't be afraid, big things are out there waiting for you to stumble upon them.