I don’t regret my decision to move hours away from home one bit. I always knew I wanted to go to school outside of Maryland, so much so that I went on tours from New York to Tennessee to Florida. I know I’m close enough that I can drive home when I really need to, unlike two of my suitemates who have to take planes home (Hawaii and Texas!), but living even just a few states away is basically an entirely different world. The miles between these two worlds are some of my favorite things to call my own.
Today I’m sharing why, if you’re an out-of-state student, you’re secretly living the dream!
1. You gain a newfound independence.
I’ve always been a very independent person. Well, as independent as you can be while still being afraid to go to the store by yourself. Coming to college made me get over that fear of being seen alone (see this post). Now, I have to figure things out on my own. I have to make my own phone calls and schedule my own meetings and get my own job. It’s on me and, although it can seem like too much sometimes, I love being in charge of my own life.
When you don’t get to go home very often, you feel like you’re truly a part of the adult world. Yeah, I’m still a student and I still don’t know how to file my own taxes, but I schedule dinner with friends, fill up my car’s gas tank, and pick up the necessities at Target. I do my own laundry and read the news and drink my coffee black (#hardcore 😉 ) The #adulting can definitely be real, even if you’re still in school, so embrace it!
2. You come out of your shell.
Although independence is important, interaction is equally so. I’m not afraid to eat at the dining hall by myself, but I’m also okay with walking up to someone new and sitting with them. I’m in engineering, which is extremely collaborative in nature, so I had to learn to talk to people in my classes to be successful. I even joined a sorority, which is a complete shock to anyone who knew me in high school (read this post if you’re interested). Going through sorority recruitment was such an important experience during my first month of college. I became good at small talk and representing myself well. It was my first real test at time management in college and it taught me that if I wanted something, I had to chase it.
I like to think of myself as a tiny extrovert in a major introvert’s body. I really enjoy talking with people and learning their story, meeting new people, and expressing myself, but I sometimes have trouble with initiating those things. Being in a completely new environment, however, makes such a difference. No one from my high school class came to NC State, so I get to reinvent myself and be whoever I wanted to be.
This is often the case with out-of-state schools, which I think is such a good thing. You don’t have to keep up appearances anymore. You don’t have to be stuck in the past. You get to really enjoy yourself without awkward encounters with people who were acquainted with the old you. Overall…
3. You’re given the opportunity to start over.
My original goal as a freshman was to start over. I didn’t want to be the same girl I was in high school, known only for being the quiet little blonde girl in the corner (outlined in my About Me page). I didn’t want to set the precedent for myself as only speaking when spoken to, as I had already lived all four years of high school that way. Sometimes I still submit to that old me, but I don’t feel like I can’t ever speak when I want to anymore. I don’t always have to wait for someone to acknowledge me because I know that what I have to say matters.
4. You learn to be resourceful.
None of us had cars but we somehow pulled off a Secret Santa exchange.
I didn’t have a car my freshman year, which meant if I needed something off-campus, I had to be crafty at how I went about it. I had to find a ride or figure out the bus system or make what I needed out of what was available in the campus convenience store. Figuring out the logistics of getting home for breaks was also sometimes a struggle.
You had to plan for any gifts in advance, since basically anything had to be shipped from home or Amazon; there wasn’t the luxury of making a last minute run to the mall. If you forgot something at home, you had to make do in between long breaks or bite the bullet and pay for overnight shipping (like when I left my laptop charger…my first day at school).
5. You appreciate where you come from.
I feel like it’s a Maryland stereotype that we all have overwhelming love for our state. It’s true that we feel protective of it; it’s like a sibling in that only we are allowed to make fun of or complain about. I love finding other students from the DMV because there are some things you just won’t understand if you’re not from that area (this is the perfect example). The things we took for granted back home are now some of my favorite things to share with my friends down in North Carolina.
6. You appreciate where you are.
The same goes for my new home down South. The culture in Raleigh is so different from that of southern Maryland. But it’s incredible. From food to clothes to accents, I love it all. I really enjoy Parents Weekend at my school because it gives me a chance to share that campus community with my family. I’m lucky that my parents can drive down for things like that, because so many students don’t have that option.
7. You gain a second family.
Raleigh and NC State are very much my second home. I know I have a family here, between my sorority, my ASB team, my roommates, and just the campus community at large. I never feel alone and I have such a wide variety of people to go to for support or a fun night. Everyone is so driven and has such big aspirations that it definitely motivates me to be the best I can be.
Being out-of-state has definitely made for a better college experience for me. It pushes me out of my comfort zone and I’ve grown so much in just a year and a half. I’ve met so many people of completely different backgrounds and getting to build my network in a city away from what I’ve grown up with has been incredible. If you’re in the process of picking where you want to go to school, I think the costs of attending a school further away from home are 1000% worth all of the rewards that will come your way.
~Did/do you attend an out-of-state school?