College years are said to be the best ones of your life; it is the time in a young person’s life to fully explore their interests and find out who they are. College is also the time where you begin do things on your own and develop a sense of maturity that transitions you from childhood to adulthood. When the time comes to choose a university, students consider a university’s reputation, programs offered, and often the location of the university itself.
I grew up in a small beach-town in South Florida; I went to grades K-12 with most of the same students, the bag-boys at the local grocery store my Mom and I went to were my classmates, and the biggest question regarding college was whether I would grow up to be a ‘Nole or a Gator. I however, had a different plan for myself, I chose to leave the familiarity of my home state, to attend school in New York.
The decision to leave my hometown came about as I started to recognize a cycle that I didn’t want to become trapped in. Most students that graduated from my high school went on to go to the same colleges as their friends. They became roommates with the same friends, and then, once they graduated, returned home and pursued a career locally. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with doing that. But it wasn’t for me. First of all, in the profession I am choosing to pursue (journalism), heading to New York seemed the best course of action. I also wanted to expand my horizons, live in a new city and get to know new people. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and see how far I could push myself.
The months leading up to move-in day were filled with a variety of emotions; I was terrified of leaving everything I knew behind, but at the same time I was thrilled to explore New York. During my freshman year, I went home twice: Thanksgiving (a horrible time to travel) and Christmas. In no time at all, I had made New York my new home. At times it was rough and I felt lonely; having absolutely no family close by and not knowing anyone prior to attending school. I didn’t have the luxury of dashing off for a quick weekend at home to do laundry, get a home-cooked meal and re-charge my batteries. I got through it though, with plenty of phone calls home and the occasional care package my Mom would send.