I Moved 3,000 Miles Away for College: Here's What I Learned

Moving to Los Angeles from a small town in Maryland was a culture shock, to say the least. I spent most of my life enjoying the rolling fields, thick pine forests, and Southern charm of the Old Line State. I had no idea that the five hour flight would feel like I was transported to a different planet! But one month into my first year of college, I can confidently say that I made the right choice.

I applied to colleges around the country, hoping to secure a spot at a prestigious film school. When I received my offer from Loyola Marymount University, I was thrilled! After visiting the campus, I knew it was the school for me, even though most of my classmates back home had never even heard of it. I was nervous, but so excited, to start this new chapter of my life.

To many out of state and international students, Los Angeles is a major adjustment; “I was very excited at the moment I got off the plane, but from that very beginning, I felt the impact of different cultures. This took me some time to adapt to the new environment,” says Ella, an LMU freshman from China. With new responsibilities, new relationships, and new priorities, college is a big change no matter where you are. Adapting to a place so unlike home requires an extra level of maturity.

It’s hard to watch your classmates go home on the weekends when you know you won’t be able to see your family until December. The first couple weeks of homesickness really got me down, but daily texts with my family, and calling a couple of times a week seriously helped with the adjustment; “The distance helps you grow as a person, and I’m really grateful for that experience,” says Lauren, an LMU freshman from Connecticut.

I knew who I was back home, but at the beginning of the school year, I struggled to find my niche. Having a support system on campus really helps. By filling your time with things you’re passionate about, you can find your community; “The hardest part was coming here not knowing anyone, but once I put myself out there, I met a lot of great people,” says LMU freshman Amelia, from Massachusetts. Don’t be afraid to explore activities and clubs on campus!

My first week in college, I felt so overwhelmed. The words “I can’t do this” kept repeating in my head. However, once I pushed past that mental barrier, there was nothing preventing me from thriving at my new school. With the right support system, maintaining contact with family and friends back home, and pursuing your passions on campus, you’re going to find your place in college, no matter how far you are from home.