Moving away from home can be both exciting and scary depending on who you are. For some, it's a chance to leave home and be independent for the first time in your life. For others, it may be a learning experience that will help shape your future. I think that no matter what your reason is, or how far out-of-state you go, there's always the "what if?"
What if you don't make it a semester/year at said school? What if you get too homesick that you realize you can't do it all on your own? What if this wonderful place isn't like the movies made it seem? So many "what if's" that linger in your mind for a while. It's extremely hard to be all on your own when your family is miles away and your only friend so far is your roommate.
Now, as I ease into my third year, I can look back to my freshman year and say that for me things got easier because I learned to adjust. I'm not ignoring the fact that every time I have to leave Texas I get sad that I won't have Whataburger, or authentic Mexican food until the next break. But, what does get easier is knowing that I get to travel to the other side of the nation and explore new horizons. For example, when I can't fly back home I usually find myself tagging along with a friend to a nearby state or buying groceries to try and recreate my mom's cooking. I have even resorted to begging my family to mail me snacks from home that are impossible to find near my college. If you're like me, you know that the hardest part of leaving your hometown and state is that the food is not the same.
It's also hard not having your mom with you anymore. Suddenly you realize you took for granted all those home-cooked meals, having your laundry clean and fresh all the time, and the times she made you chicken soup when you were sick. The worst experience you can ever go through in college, is being sick for more than a week and not having your mom there to help cure you. At that moment you have to power through and be a real adult, because the nurses at the Wellness Center will probably think you're pregnant even if you're a guy.
Honestly, despite what could go wrong while being away from your family, you embrace the lifestyle of your new home and realize that it's not so bad living on your own. It's these experiences that make you stronger and appreciate what you had for the past 18+ years of your life.
-- Nancy Garzon
Originally published in The Odyssey