The Best and Toughest Decision: Attending School 1,200 Miles from Home

I decided to transfer colleges after I finished my freshman year at a small, private school. I looked at small colleges two hours away and then I looked at large universities like the U, halfway across the country from my home in New Jersey. Many people warned me about the frigid cold (which is unpreparable) and the confusion as to why I wanted to go to a school in a state where I knew not a single person. Well, I knew the U had so many opportunities for a student hoping to get involved and the chance to attend a wide-range of classes that a small school could never offer. But, my decision presented unexpected life lessons I could never have imagined. I’ll admit, there are times I feel homesick and want to book a flight home the same night, but I remind myself, once I earn my diploma, I have an experience in my back pocket that not many other people have to their advantage.

There are times I miss the East Coast culture, especially the food, wishing I was just a 25 minute drive away from a home cooked meal. But what takes precedence over these concerns is the ability to say I challenged myself, I took advantage of an opportunity to live somewhere completely new and different. I have moved into apartments on my own, while at the same time I was living in a hotel for ten days and working two jobs. While I can’t say the process is one I recommend, I look back and can say I did all of those physically and mentally challenging tasks on my own. When interviewers ask me what I am most proud of, I discuss my decision to dive right into a prestigious university, become involved in various clubs, and finish with a superb academic record.

Without a doubt my friends and family back home have helped me along the way as well as my support here, but, ultimately, I’m the one who wakes up every morning and goes to class 21 hours away from the place I was born and raised. With senior year approaching and post-graduation plans developing, my decision prepares me to take on law school in California or a full-time position in the South. I just want to say, challenge yourself and take risks. There have been times I have tried and failed while being here, but the journey alone has taught me more about what I am capable of than any other experience.