If you’re anything like me, being close with your parents is a blessing and a curse. I love them to pieces, but ultimately that made it even harder to move away for college.
Here is a bit of a back story: I was born in a small town consisting of about 10,000 people in Southern California, but I knew I wanted to go to college in the Pacific Northwest. So, my dad and I visited Washington and Oregon and I decided on a school in the former. I could tell my parents were sad that I had chosen to go so far away (at least we considered it far away), but they supported me anyway. As senior year rolled around, I wanted to spend as much time with my parents as I could before I left. Before we knew it, we were driving along the coast making the 22-hour drive up to Bellingham, Wash.
Long story short, my parents and I managed to bawl our eyes out in almost every restaurant in downtown Bellingham: the pizza place, the bagel place, and even three out of the five coffee shops also located downtown. I will never forget how painful it was saying goodbye to them, but I knew it wasn’t forever. My point being: leaving my parents was hands down the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, but it was worth it.
Retrospectively speaking, I grew up immensely throughout my first couple of years away from my small town in California. I learned how to be on my own, I was forced to make friends instead of driving home every weekend, and when I was able to see my parents, it made the time with them even more special. Although these were awesome qualities that I learned, that feeling in the pit of my stomach didn’t go away for at least a year. Here are a few of the things no one tells you about moving away to college:
You will find out which friends actually make an effort to keep in touch once you move away.
This was one of the most difficult parts of moving away, or at least it was for me. Feeling alone and isolated in a completely new state where I barely knew anyone was difficult, and all you really want is support from your friends who know you the best. As your freshman year continues on, you will see some of your friendships start to fizzle out, and that’s OK! Find the friends that are worth keeping in touch with, without you being the one making the effort.
Coming home after breaks will feel weird, and that’s normal.
Once you move away from home, you start to take things for granted and you realize everything at home pretty much stays the same, all while you are changing. This is by far the weirdest feeling to come back home to, but it's natural. Becoming independent, meeting new people, and learning to be on your own is scary but necessary. Coming home to your parents and old friends isn’t going to be the same, but remember, that’s OK.
Your life is changing, and so are you, but ultimately it is this change that makes you who you are.
Now don’t get me wrong: staying home and going to college is exactly what some people need, but personally, that wasn’t for me. Everyone is different, and everyone experiences things differently, so moving away isn’t always for everyone. There is no “cookie-cutter” way to experience college.
Without the support of my friends and parents, moving away for college would never have been possible. College is one of the most exciting times in your life, and it is up to you to make the experience as memorable as you can. Experiencing the world on your own, taking chances and just living life is amazing, but with this comes change, and looking back, change isn’t all that bad. Making these lifestyle changes and putting myself out there was hard, but the change that came along with moving away was well worth it, and it helped me become the person I am today.
So, dare I say, challenge yourself and your limitations. See what you are truly capable of, and with this change, you will see your life unfold for the better.