By the time you read this, I will be back in North Carolina for my last semester of Sophomore year. In fact, it is currently Sunday night and I am snuggled up in bed (at school) writing this post. Of course I had planned to write this days before but my procrastination sometimes gets the best of me…hey, it will be up on time I promise.
I wanted to write a post about how I chose High Point and how I’ve dealt with going to college far away from home and how it has helped me grow to be the independent and more responsible young woman that I am today. And I’d like to point out that by no means am I done growing in that way, I know that. But I have come a long way.
Looking back, I am in High School again. Late Junior year especially brought the thought of college to the forefront of my mind and conversation with my family and friends . The daunting task of going through all the junk mail from random colleges and ‘googling’ them to see if they were somewhere I could see myself living for the next four years was a constant activity. Sometimes I did find it fun though. Most were pretty, some were not.. some made me really excited and some I just tossed to the side with a “meh” kind of attitude. At this point, under the pile of letters (that I assumed they sent to tons of prospective students like myself), I was afraid that I wasn’t going to find the right school for me. Now, before this, as far back as middle school, I wanted to go to college in North Carolina, particularly Duke or UNC (I was really in to the college basketball and I thought they were the best teams so my 12-13 year old logic was that if I liked their basketball team, the school must be cool too). I didn’t even know exactly what I wanted to do yet… all I knew is that I wanted to go to North Carolina. That was that. When I told my father this, he laughed and basically told me that it couldn’t happen; that my grades would have to be out of this world. Now, before you think “well that wasn’t very nice of him”… though harsh at times, my father was the one who pushed me to be the best that I can be and taught me that I need to work hard for what I want. Despite the fact I did not realize it then, I now know he was my motivation to strive for my goals. If I wanted North Carolina, I had to work hard and get the grades. And that’s exactly what I did. However, it began to scare me, knowing that no colleges in New York really spoke to me and had that luring effect.
While visiting North Carolina, I toured two different colleges, NC State and East Carolina University. They were both beautiful and I enjoyed the tour, but neither school gave me that feeling. That “I know this is the one for me” feeling. Then, as quick as a whip, High Point University came in to my life. I had heard about it from my neighbor who had attended and graduated from there with an Interior Design degree. She had the most wonderful things to say about the campus and the school itself. And by now, I think I had already decided what I wanted to go to school for. Interior Design.
I said, well, I don’t have anything to lose. I did my research and with each click I fell more and more in love. Before I knew it, I was filling my early application and waiting to hear back from the only school I applied to. Heck, I even applied before I toured the school. Somehow, deep down, I must have known that I was meant to go here. Or else I would have been in trouble by not applying to others.
Well, around thanks-giving time of my senior year of High School, my Mother, Sister, Brother and Aunt Mo, were in North Carolina visiting my Uncle and family for the holiday. I had planned a tour of the campus and all was set. That day of the tour, it was rainy and a bit chilly. Some would say it was miserable and even our tour guide apologized for the inconvenience. But me, I was too nervous to care what the weather was doing. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if it started to hail. I was just so focused on what it was going to be like. Pictures could only show me so much, ya know.
It was magical from the beginning, even the security gate was pretty. The rain didn’t matter because the campus wasn’t truly dampened by it at all. It was like a dream come true or love at first sight because stepping on the campus for the first time, that “this is it” feeling flooded over me. I just knew. I knew this was going to be my school for the next four years of my life.. and we hadn’t even made it out of the visitors parking lot yet.
670 miles, 10 hours in a car, and roughly 4 states in between both of my homes (depending how you drive). It is definitely not your average weekend trip home kind of deal. For me, it’s come home when they actually give you a week off so the traveling is worth it. Last semester I only was able to come home to Syracuse once (not including winter break). It was tough, but I made it through! Freshman year was a bit of a different story… I was homesick for most of the first semester. It was definitely tough to go through that separation anxiety… only to be heightened by the distance being so far. Not to mention my current boyfriend at the time was going through Marine Corps boot camp for my first three months of the semester so not being able to talk to him made it even worse.
This is where technology swooped in to save the day. I was able to FaceTime my family and friends whenever I wanted which allowed me to have a little piece of home with me. That helped so much in times of need. I highly recommend frequent video chats to calm the nerves of your first year. **Props to our parents for not having this luxurious communication tactic when they were in college**
I would also like to give a shout out to Kailee, one of my best friends and roommates. She was a major help throughout my first semester of homesickness. We helped each other a lot and I am so grateful for her.
But as time went on, I was able to get over my homesickness and started to enjoy college more. It’s not like getting over my homesickness meant that I didn’t miss home a lot or that I didn’t want to come back home, it just meant that I wasn’t struggling to truly let go and enjoy my new freedom and independence. Now, I must admit, that while still in High School, my mom made me breakfast almost every morning before school. My siblings and I were very well taken care of. So as you can imagine, college was a lot different without my mom. I had do to my own laundry, and keep up with it too or else I wouldn’t have any clothes to wear. I sometimes had to make my own food (if the places on campus were closed or I was too lazy to walk there). And more importantly, I had to make my own decisions. My parents weren’t there to wake me up for class or go grocery shopping for me when I needed toilet paper or milk and OJ. I had to quickly adapt to being almost completely on my own (having Kailee there really helped though). I guess you could say I have always been a more independent person, and Mom, you might argue that fact. But more in a sense than others I mean. So, leaving for college really brought that trait out even more. It has been such an amazing experience thus far and I am so excited to see what this spring semester will bring me.
It’s hard to think that life still goes on back at home when I’m not there. My brother and sister have school and sports practice. My parents work and my friends hang out together since they are still so close. It was and still is hard seeing your two best friends making memories without you. I’ve struggled with that ever since I left to come down to High Point. It’s like when I go home, I am missing a whole part of their lives and I am out of the loop for sure. But I am so grateful that it has never got in the way of us all being friends. Meghan and Heather, I love you two and I am so happy to consider you to be my best friends. You both know I wish I could just pick up High Point and plop it down somewhere close to home. But this goes to show that no matter the distance, we will still be friends.
If you’re reading this as a High School student, keep reading, if not, you can skip this part. Here’s some advice I’d like to give. If you are planning on going to college far from home, far as in, more than 5 hours, then listen.
-First and foremost. Everything will be just fine.
-If you absolutely need to go home, you can. The distance is only numbers when it comes down to it.
-You’re not stuck there on campus just because you’re far from home, go out and explore!! I already know a bunch of places and my way around High Point because I have a car and I love adventures. (If you don’t have a car, walking around would be fun I guess but just make friends with people with cars, its easier)
-Get involved. Truly, keeping yourself busy is probably the best thing you could do to distract from homesickness. I wish I did more of this freshman year but I was too timid. Just go out and see what you like, it doesn’t mean you have to join 100 clubs or anything. Just test the waters ok?
-When you move in, make sure to get yourself comfortable in your room. Make it your own, bring some things that remind you of home. And don’t worry about what your roommate may think of your decor, do what makes you most comfortable (just maybe don’t go too crazy, respect your roommate of course). This was a big one for me, my room was my escape when I needed to get away from everything and gather myself.
I hope this helps! And good luck to anyone who is going to college in the near future!!
Thanks for listening,