As I sit back and reflect on my freshman year of college, I realize that being “that girl from Tennessee” wasn’t so bad after all. Going out of state for college was the best decision I have ever made, and I will forever stand by that. Whether you are a transfer student or a freshman, going to college out of state takes courage and determination. For the first time in our lives, we are living away from everyone and everything we have ever known. However, in the end, it's not so bad, you just have to remember who you are, where you come from and why you are here. Here are a few of the things that out of state ‘Noles will learn a lot in their first year:
1. Florida weather is truly unique
Some days, I understand why Florida is called the sunshine state, and other days I wonder if we will ever see the sun again. All in one year I have experienced a hurricane, a heat wave, and a freezing winter. Coming from Tennessee, we also have some of the strangest weather patterns known to man, but honestly, Florida takes the cake. Within a one-week span, Tallahassee went from surviving one of the worst hurricanes to ever strike the panhandle to clear blue skies and sunshine. Believe it or not, Florida actually does get cold so even if you are a snowbird by birth, bring a jacket for the winter!
2. Explaining where you are from and why you came to FSU will become your second nature
The reaction you get after saying where you are from tends to vary from person to person, but it feels pretty great to have that one fun fact about you stick with most people you meet. If you are like me and don’t have a defining reason for choosing FSU, expect to receive a certain look. My best advice would be just to own it and smile with pride knowing that you’ll one day find out why you are here. In no time you will have your self-monologue prepared for everyone you meet and every reaction you will encounter. The question is going to come up so why not answer it with pride?
3. Homesickness is real
I used to think that I would never miss home, but that is not at all true. Randomly, I’ll think about my favorite hometown restaurant or get a text from my old friends and think about all the fun we used to have. Sometimes, those memories leave me sad, but also those memories remind me of why I’ll be ok. It’s important to remember where you come from and the people who made you who you are, so if you are not with them, it is ok to miss them. One thing is for certain though, everyone is just one phone call away.
4. When in doubt, join something
Most in-state students know at least one person at the college before they come, but for out-of-state students, that’s rarely true. To some people, making new friends will come easy with or without involvement, but for others, it can be pretty hard. One of the best ways to meet new people, understand yourself, and learn about your new home is by joining something. FSU has hundreds of clubs and organizations that are perfect for everyone. All you have to do is reach out.
5. How to be independent
Sometimes, you just want to go home. Many of the in-state students live close enough to home that they can visit on the weekend. However, that is not the case for most out of state students. When something goes wrong, I can’t rush home and ask my parents to fix it. Now I have to fix it myself. For the first time ever, it’s now my responsibility to grocery shop, clean, do laundry and even cook dinner. All of these tasks were foreign to me when I lived at home, but now, I am forced to do for myself and it actually feels great to know that this journey is teaching me about independence.