Going to school in a different state has its struggles, many of which an in-state student will never understand.
When I was applying to colleges, I was set on the idea of going out-of-state. I love my family and friends from home, but I knew that venturing out of my small New Jersey town would teach me to be independent, and allow me to grow into the best version of myself. As my freshman year of college comes to a close, I have come to realize how different and hard going to college in a different state really is.
Here is a list of 11 struggles you've definitely faced if you are an out-of-state student.
1. Paying out-of-state tuition.
Tuition is one of the most important things to consider when applying to colleges. Out-of-state tuition is often much more expensive, and this can create a burden. Apply for scholarships, and look into schools that offer in-state tuition based on merit (like FSU!). Going out-of-state doesn't have to be super expensive if you take the time to look into the best options, but the worry of tuition expenses is nonetheless a struggle.
2. Flying home over breaks.
If you go to a school really far from your home state, chances are you have to fly home over breaks. Flying is expensive, and finding the cheapest tickets can be hard. Not to mention, delayed flights and crowded airports often add to the stress and chaos.
3. Making friends.
For me, making friends at a large state school while being an out-of-state student was one of the hardest things. Chances are, many of your in-state classmates know people from high school at their college, while you may be the only one from your high school. Becoming involved around campus by joining clubs and organizations, as well as keeping a positive outlook definitely helps when it comes to finding friends.
4. Missing home.
While most students miss home at one point or another when they are at college, being out-of-state makes the struggle a little harder. My roommate and many of my friends can drive a few hours to get home on the weekends, but out-of-state students don't have this luxury. We go a long time without seeing our families, and it can get tough.
5. Getting used to the weather.
Coming from a cold state like New Jersey, I was accustomed to freezing temperatures and blizzards. Going to school in Florida has been a big adjustment, where snow is a very rare sighting. Walking to class in 95-degree weather and high humidity has had me questioning my decision to go down south for school, but I wouldn't trade 70-degree weather in February for anything.
6. Not having a car.
Not having my car with me at school may have been one of the hardest things to get used to. Driving my car 18 hours was from NJ to FL wasn't an option, and not having reliable transportation has been a huge struggle. Ubers are expensive, and I often feel like I'm constantly stuck on campus. However, my friends who do have cars always make the struggle easier by offering to drive me places (shoutout to them!).
7. Moving in and out of your dorm/apartment.
Moving in and out of your dorm or apartment can be so hard as an out-of-state student. I fly home over breaks and don't have a car, so figuring out how to transport all my belongings out of my dorm over the summer is a major headache. Consider looking into self-storage units, where you can keep all your furniture and other items that you need for the next year over the summer.
8. Not being able to have friends come visit.
Many of my in-state friends often have their high school friends come to visit them over weekends. Being so far from home, it is almost impossible for any of my friends to come and visit unless they love me enough to drop a couple of hundred dollars on a plane ticket. Even though not seeing them often is hard, it makes reunions so much more special.
9. Getting used to new food/restaurants.
There are quite a few restaurants, grocery stores, and food traditions in general that just don't translate over state borders. Finding your new favorite places to eat and buy groceries can be exciting, but will also make you miss your local stores. Not to mention, if you're from New Jersey like me, you're probably constantly craving a Jersey bagel.
10. You don't know the geography of the state your school is in.
When I ask many people where they're from, they respond with a city in Florida that I have never heard of. Most of the time, they simplify it down and say "close to ____", referencing any of the four major cities I am familiar with. If someone dropped me anywhere over an hour from my campus, chances are I wouldn't have any idea where I was.
11. Loving your school despite the struggles.
Being out-of-state is hard, but it has so many upsides that make it all worth it. Getting to spread your wings and meet people from different backgrounds than yourself, all while learning to become independent, can help you become the best version of your self. Missing home is super hard, but it makes seeing your family even sweeter when you do get that opportunity.