Going To An Out-Of-State College Was Intimidating But I Learned So Much

I Went Out Of State — And My Comfort Zone — For College, And It Was A Genius Move

Why I decided to step out of my comfort zone.

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I never really had my place in high school... or so I felt. To some, I had a very typical high school experience. I won't say that I hated high school by any means, but they definitely weren't the best years of my life like they were for some. I had a good friend group, I was active in clubs and I played sports, but I still felt like I wasn't where I needed to be. It wasn't until I decided to leave home, and I mean really leave home, that I felt like I knew where I was and where I was going.

Senior year rolled around, and I had that itch to start fresh somewhere. My restart button came in the form of an out-of-state college. I'm a homebody, so leaving everything I knew wasn't the easiest decision, but it was the best. I've always been a person of comfort but stepping onto a campus where I knew absolutely no one was definitely an eye-opening experience. I could've followed the path that others did and stayed closer to home, but that wouldn't have gotten me to where I am now.

Living out of reach of your parents seems great, and sometimes it is, but it means you're really on your own. It means learning to do all the things you never did for yourself growing up. "You're only a phone call away" is true, but many times you'll find it's almost too true. You learn to depend a bit more on yourself and less on your parents who are hours away. I quickly learned that I was not anywhere near as independent growing up as I thought I was.

Being by myself forced me to find myself. I don't mean in the cliche way that they talk about in movies, but I do mean that I found the person who I wanted to be. It definitely didn't come to me in the form of some weird realization, and I can't pinpoint when it happened either. I can tell you that I found the confidence that I hadn't seen since I was a feisty 6-year-old. I didn't feel pressured to continue being a person I didn't like. I forced my introverted self to stop being shy and make friends, something I never really had to do growing up. It was almost like a culture shock because the campus was so different from my hometown. The people were different from the way they dressed to the way they talked.

Being in such a different place also pushed me to want to find somewhere I felt comfortable. I joined a sorority, which isn't something I planned on doing at all. I think if I would've gone somewhere closer to home then I wouldn't have felt the push to continue stepping out of my comfort zone. I would've stayed complacent.

These might all sound like things you learn when you leave for college in general, but it's not quite the same. Your safety net isn't so close, and you don't have a choice but to be your own support system and motivator. I'm not by any means saying that you won't have an amazing college experience if you don't go out of state, but the way you appreciate things from your childhood and hometown grows astronomically.

I am so grateful that I took a risk and trusted myself on this one. I'm now lucky enough to have friends from all over the US and even to have experienced a different culture within the borders of my native country. Your path may not be the same as mine, but I leave you with these questions to ponder before you make another decision whether that be if you join a club or try out for a club sports team: Which decision will take you a step out of your comfort zone? Which option has the greatest opportunity to teach you something about yourself?

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

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One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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