One of the biggest decisions students make is choosing where to go to college. Many people choose to go somewhere close to home, and some go across the country.
That decision landed me somewhere in the middle. I could have gone to another Big 12 Conference school across town from my childhood home. Instead, I’m going to school in a different state from where I grew up, five hours from the place I call home.
I knew that going to a college out-of-state was going to have its challenges. But if I was given the chance to go back in time and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change my decision.
Over the last three years, I’ve learned a few things about not staying in my comfort zone. I’ve been able to do something I was always wary of, and that was leaving my friends and family in a completely different state.
It’s completely okay to miss home. It’s a hard transition going from having the same routine for four years of high school with the same people to being in a different place with new people.
I love going back home and being able to visit. I always try to see the friend group I had throughout high school and as much of my family as possible.
It’s not always the place itself you miss the most; it’s the people who you can’t see with a quick drive across town. You get used to phone calls and texts as normal forms of communication. I think this has been one of the hardest things for me.
When you’re in a new place without very many familiar faces, you grow up a lot. I have learned in the classroom during my time at Kansas State University, but I’ve learned as much or maybe more outside of it. I’ve learned more about cars, more about life and more about myself.
I moved into a smaller community with more than 30 girls my freshman year: the Smurthwaite Leadership/Scholarship House. This was a change in itself, but not long after I moved in, I had an instant group of friends. I knew they would have my back no matter the circumstance. We’ve had shared experiences where we’ve all grown up together and helped each other out along the way.
Not being from Kansas, I didn’t know every little small town that my classmates came from. I didn’t know what all the best places to eat were. I moved from a town with a population twice the size of Manhattan.
One of my favorite parts of being from out-of-state is always having a conversation starter. I love getting to tell people about where I grew up and what my friends back home are like. Anytime I meet someone else who’s not from Kansas, we instantly have something in common. It’s even better if we’re both from the same state.
One thing is for sure: I know my life would be completely different if I had chosen to stay in my comfort zone. I would still be with my high school friend group and be in the town I grew up in.
Maybe the next time you’re wondering if you should take a chance and step out of what you think is your comfort zone, you’ll realize that it’s a little bigger than you originally thought.
Julia Jorns is an assistant sports editor for the Collegian and a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.