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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Conn Coll chapter.

As the new Camels on Conn’s campus are becoming adjusted to their first year of college, I have thought more and more about the impact of going to college far from my home state and how that has changed me as a person. Everyone goes through their years of higher education differently and learns a variety of life lessons that helps them understand themselves. Part of this development comes from being thrown into a new place and learning to live more independently. 

Committing to a college that requires a lot of travel is not feasible for everyone, but if you are able to travel further and push yourself out of your comfort zone, I believe that there is value in going to a school farther from home. 

-The Feeling of Homesickness

I was partially inspired to write this article because of stories of younger college students beginning to feel a sense of homesickness and asking for advice. Interestingly, I’ve found that people who live closer to home (roughly within 2 hours) are quicker to admit to this feeling and talk about missing their town. Maybe that’s because they feel like traveling home is just out of reach, so easy to do, and they have to stop themselves from doing a quick weekend trip to see their dog or sleep in their own bed.

But for students who live further away, there isn’t always a quick and easy way to travel unless we have a break, and we don’t constantly feel that pull and possibility of going home within a few hours. And, maybe students from out of town are so excited about being in a new place that we are distracted by the “newness” of it all and don’t have time to wish we were back in the same place we just left.

-Becoming More Independent

I remember one weekend within the first month of my freshman year, I took the old Camel Van to Target and got some dorm essentials: some snacks and fruit, medicine, cleaning supplies, etc. That same weekend, one of my classmates’ parents had driven to Conn to take their kid to a grocery store and grab a couple of items. I don’t feel any judgment towards them, but I had never even thought about that option for students in college–that you can still see your parents or guardians consistently and not have to do things on your own.

The stereotype of students driving home to have their parents do their laundry may not always be true, but that idea shows that some students have an accessibility and ease of doing more independent tasks that others without that option must adjust to quicker. Without knowing the area or having family close by to go out with, students from further distances have to problem solve on their own and complete necessary “adult” tasks that are so important to know.

My friends and I have all gone through another major part of living far from school: dealing with travel plans and adjusting to travel emergencies when you’re alone.

-Exploring New Areas

I chose to come out to Connecticut to see if I could try living somewhere outside my home state and enjoy being in a new climate. I have enjoyed the change in weather, snowfalls, the leaves changing in autumn, and learning about popular places nearby to visit. Being able to take a quick train to Boston and New York and staying in those areas has been a highlight of being in New England, and I think all students should take advantage of being so close to these big cities. 

Although the East Coast may not have In-N-Out, I’ve loved the places that are unique to this area. Going to apple orchards near New London, the beach at Watch Hill, RI, and local businesses in Mystic have been some of my favorite memories in the last few years. No one should view one singular town as the definition of living in New England and say they would never want to live here when there are many different places that have different cultures and more to explore. 

-Learning to Love Your Hometown Even More

I love my hometown, and like everyone says, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Going home for breaks and returning to the place I grew up has become more special and exciting to me as I have spent time away. I appreciate my favorite restaurants, seeing friends and family, and the nearby cities and beaches that I don’t get when I’m in New London, CT. Although I have found new favorite cafes and places to explore here, living far away from home has made me love my first home even more. I don’t think I would get as great a comfort returning home if I was able to be there as often. 

And, for some people, being away from their hometown can mean seeing its faults. After living in a new area, they see that they want to live somewhere different. Anything from the weather in different places to food options to location near nature or city life can influence us to think about where we really want to belong.

Growing up and becoming independent means trying new things and reaching out of your comfort zone, and that can begin with looking to study farther from home and living in a new place. 

Maria Sell

Conn Coll '23

Maria (she/her/hers) is a senior at Connecticut College studying American Studies and Sociology and is from the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves getting to play on the Women's Water Polo Team with her teammates here and enjoys reading, baking, and coaching water polo outside of school!