I Moved 2,000 Miles Away From Home

In Spring 2016, I made a decision that would mold the next four years of my life. 

I applied to all out-of-state schools and chose the furthest one: Columbia College Chicago, approx. 2,032 miles away from home. 

Now, I always get the question, “Why would you move from LA to here?” 

In simple terms: I like the cold, Chicago is a dope city and I was eager to explore new adventures. In complex terms, my home life throughout high school was anything but ideal. 

I was exposed to many obstacles in life that many of my friends and fellow peers didn’t, and shouldn’t, experience. These numerous instances left me with this lingering shadow of my family. 

I was tired of living in a hostile and volatile environment. A change was not only wanted, but was necessary. 

I’ll be honest, I was scared I was going to regret the move. I was that little girl growing up that would call her mom to pick her up from sleepovers. And before August 2016, I had never been that far away from home—let alone LIVED away from home.  

But this was the best decision I could’ve ever made. I moved not only to further my education, but to find myself. 

For those that may not know me, my older brother is a drug addict and has been for over eight years. This was a prime reason as to why I chose to leave Los Angeles. Moving away allowed me to take my life back.

I found my voice. I was able to confront my personal demons head on, both figuratively and literally. 

Now, I’m in my senior year, and I can’t believe I made it this far. Life has tested me from the day I boarded that flight three summers ago. I have experienced every trial and tribulation you could think of. I spent a lot of time trying to escape the reality of my family, constantly losing myself in their turmoil.  

I had doubts—lots of them. My sophomore year I was ready to pack up and transfer to a school back home. Not entirely sure what came over me, I was just ready to call it quits. Thinking “I should just go back, it’ll be easier if I just go back.” But moving away was about me and only me. And that mentality kept me motivated everyday. 

I needed to prove to myself that I can do this thing called “life” on my own.

Since landing in Chicago three years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to network in ways I never imagined possible. I became the president of my college’s fashion association and interned with celebrity stylists and brands such as shoedazzle. I’ve been blessed with the best group of friends (shout out to the Fab 5) and I’m so excited to see where this last year will take me. 

Lastly, though not a pretty one, I’m beyond thankful for my past and my family. My experiences have prepared me for every journey I have embarked on.