I was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. I grew up going to NC State football and basketball games and listening to my dad tell stories of going to school there. So, when it came time for me to apply to colleges, there was really only one place I wanted to attend, and that was NC State. I knew it was the school for me and I couldn't imagine going anywhere else. This meant, however, that I would be in the same city that I grew up in for another four years. Some people did not like this idea. They thought that I needed to be "spreading my wings" and moving across the country, or that if I was staying near home I might as well just live at home and commute to school.
Aside from the fact that going to school across the country would cost my parents buckets of unnecessary money, I did not like the idea that moving away from your hometown is equal to success. Up until a few months ago, I had this mindset. I felt like everything I had accomplished and discovered about myself was undercut by the fact I had not yet technically "moved away." It was like I was out there, but not really out there because I could drive to my parents' house in less than half an hour. I had the idea in my head that as soon as I graduated college, I was going to move to New York City. One, because I love it there, and two, because I wanted to prove that I could move away from home and be a success. Only recently have I realized that due to the flexibility of my future degree, I can really be successful anywhere.
When I announced I was going to NC State, my parents often got asked if I was going to live at home, to which they would swiftly reply, "No." Even if I had wanted to live it home, they still would have expected me to live on campus in a dorm, have a meal plan, and be as involved on campus as possible.
Now, I am so happy with my decision, and I think there are several benefits to studying close to home.
1. A home cooked meal is a short car ride away.
If I am having a really bad week, or am simply feeling a little homesick (it happens), it's easy to go home and relax. I love that when needed I can drive home and escape the stress of school. It's always nice to fall back into the routine of what it was like before I moved out, because now family time is something that is familiar and comforting. I always return to campus feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the next week, and there have been several occasions where my friends were jealous of how easily I could come and go.
2. Moving in and out is so much easier.
During move in, my family loads up two cars, one of them being mine, and drives over to campus. It only takes a few hours at most, and once we finish, they leave and I stay. I don't have to worry about forgetting anything important, because if I did I can just drive home and get it or they can bring it back over.
During move out, I can gradually start moving things out weeks before school is actually over, so by the time I finish my final exams the only things left to bring back home are the bare necessities.
3. My college friends get to meet my family.
Because I live so close, I can bring college friends home or my parents can come to events on campus and meet them. Even though this an minuscule detail, if I had moved farther away, my family would most likely just be hearing stories about them.
4. I can see my pets.
I love animals, and I have a very strong attachment to my two cats at home. My family has had them since I was 8 years old, so they are getting up there age wise. Since being in school, there have been two instances where they have had health scares, but due to my proximity I was able to go home for the weekend and see them.
5. I have an extra study space.
During the fall semester of my sophomore year, the library seemed more crowded than usual. In order to get a good spot for studying, it seemed like I had to wake up super early just to beat everyone to the library. Instead of playing survival of the fittest, I simply packed up my study materials and drove home before finals started. With my parents at work and my brother at school during the day, I had the house to myself, plus unlimited snacks, which made it the perfect study location.
6. I get to see my brother before he leaves for college.
My brother is currently a senior in high school, and there's a good chance he'll be a few hours away for college. Although he would never admit it, we're kind of close, and it is sad to think that soon I might come home for a weekend and he won't be there. Because I stayed in Raleigh for college, I was able to see him, and my high school football team, win the state championship for their division, which I know was an important moment for him.
6. Support is close by.
During my sophomore year, I got sick. Like, really sick. When it was clear that there was something seriously wrong, and I was recommended to a specialist, my mom was able to come to every appointment. I could go home and rest before having procedures done, and then be driven home afterwards to recover. If I had not gotten into NC State I would have been attending school three hours away, and I cannot imagine going through such a scary experience that far from home.
7. I don't have to go home.
My freshman year, I barely went home. Mostly to prove that just because I was close to home didn't mean I was going home every weekend. However, I have that choice. I can choose when I want to visit my family and when I want to stay on campus. Unlike some friends, I don't have to wait for a designated holiday or buy a plane ticket to go see my family. Going to school in Raleigh has given me the privilege of being able to choose.