When it comes time to go to college, you hear the all too familiar "I can't wait to get out of this small town. I hate it here, I want to be as far away as possible." Everyone that grows up in a relatively small community says that, or even thinks it, at least once. They need change, distance, a place where not everyone knows your every move. For me, that wasn't the case.

I love my small town, my family, my friends, everything about it. And for me, when it came time to go to college, I didn't want to jet off to some place where I would never get to see my family or go home whenever I want. I wanted to have the ability to be far enough away from home to enjoy the "college experience," but close enough to be able to go home if I needed to.

Going to college so close to home allows your family to still be a part of your life -- they can come support you in athletic events, come up and take you out for dinner, stop by to say hi, or be there by your side in whatever you choose to do or plan or play in.

I have the ability to visit my grandparents whenever I want, go home to see my pets, or go home to watch the Patriots win the Super Bowl (and witness the Falcons blow a 25 point lead).

I can have home-cooked meals, ice cream from my favorite place, and sleep on my own mattress every once in a while.

I can babysit my cousin, still have my on-campus job over break, and know that if I forget something, whether it be at home or at school, it's not the end of the world to do a quick turn-around.

I can be there to support my family and friends in whatever it is they are doing, whether it be my mom's soccer games, my stepdad's baseball games, or a soccer game for my stepsisters -- it's not out of the way to do. No matter what it is, I have the ability to fit it into my (very) busy schedule, because I am so close to home.

Or, I can stay at school, knowing that home is just 35 minutes away in case anything happens, or I just want to be off campus for a little bit. Being close to my family is incredibly important to me, and if I went to a school that was far away, I wouldn't be able to maintain those close connections that I cherish so much.

"Home: A place your feet may leave, but your heart will always be."