The hardest thing for most high graduates is deciding what the next step is for them. Whether to go straight into the workforce, take a year off, travel or go to school. If you did end up deciding to go to college after graduation you had only made 1/10 of the decisions you needed to before you walked across the stage. Now you had to decide where you wanted to go, where to apply, if you can afford it, what you wanted to study, if that college has that field of study etc. It was enough to make my head explode, but in the chaos comes one moment of clarity where you have to ask yourself what you truly want. I truly wanted to move from my small town in Nevada to Fargo, North Dakota.
When I tell people from home that I go to school in the North Dakota, I get the same confused face as when I tell people at school I’m from Nevada. I tell the same story every time I get that face and explain that I have family in Fargo and it was one of the cheapest schools in the west with my major. When it came down to deciding where to go, climate, population and all the other factors really didn’t matter. If I was happy with my school and with what I was learning when I was there, everything else I could adjust to.
My mom grew up around the Fargo area and lived the mid-west lifestyle where you went to church every Sunday with no excuses, you had dinner as a family around the table every night and your faith and family could get you through anything. She then raised my sister and me in similar ways, but living a Midwest life in rural Nevada always made me feel different. I had friends that would think it was so weird that my family ate a home cooked meal every night together. When I came up to Fargo for school, though, everyone I met had the same values and beliefs that I was raised on and I felt like I was at home. People were humble and lived simply here and that was a life I wanted.
Don’t get me wrong, my hometown was an amazing place to have grown up and gave me experiences I wouldn’t get anywhere else. I grew up skiing, camping, swimming and living in one of the most beautiful places in the world; Lake Tahoe. I loved my family and friends there; however, I needed new scenery, new friends and I needed to see what else the world had for me outside of the mountains. The town I grew up in was small enough that the people I graduated kindergarten with were the same ones I graduated high school with. Although I liked most of those people, I didn’t think I needed to graduate college with them too. I needed to grow in a way that staying in Nevada with the crutch of my friends and family wouldn’t allow me to do.
I've made amazing friends and have been given job opportunities I wouldn't be able to get anywhere else. I've become self reliant and made changes to my life that will continue to benefit me that I probably wouldn't have made if I stayed in my comfort zone at home. The transition was hard, but I can’t see myself going anywhere except North Dakota State. 1600 miles is a long way, but a necessary distance to see what you're truly made of.