Searching for colleges is an exciting time. The plethora of schools out there are your oyster, and you can choose to go almost anywhere you please. For a lot of people, they want to ‘get away from their home town’ and experience a new life. They want to go to school hours away, far enough to live life on their own, leaving their life prior to school miles away. I wanted to be one of those people when I looked for colleges. I was looking at schools that were three, four, and even six hours away. I wanted to start new, get away from my small town and find a new, better version of myself.

Once May 1st came around and I decided where to spend the next four years of my life, I chose a school 30 minutes away from my house, where at least 20 out of the 250 kids in my graduating class chose to go as well.

When it came down to the last few weeks before decision day, I started to put my life and future into perspective. Is it worth paying that out of state tuition to go for a degree that will take years to pay off the loans? Does it make sense for me, for my career, to go to a school in another state or hours away, when I’ll most likely end up back in my home county to work? Would I be able to handle being hours away from my family? For a lot of people, it’s well worth it for them going out of state or far away, whether it’s for their career or for themselves. I think people that travel far to begin the next step of their lives are incredible, and I applaud their confidence! But for me, going far away just didn’t make sense.

Going to school close to home doesn’t make you a loser, it doesn’t mean you don’t get the “college experience”, and it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be home 24/7. There’s people that live as close as 15 minutes to school and only travel home once or twice before holiday breaks, and there’s some that choose to go home every weekend to see friends and family. The thought of not being near my family scared me, and I love that I can go home to see them or have dinner with them almost whenever I want. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't run home to see them without having to take a jump, hop and a skip coming from hours away.

Through the college I chose, I have been able to become the new, better version of myself that I desired to discover two years ago during my search. You can go to college 30 minutes away or you could go three hours away, what you make of your college experience is what you’ll take from it. The most important thing is whether you are happy where you are.