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Living Away from Home for the First Time

    I’ve always been the type of girl who’d call her mother in the middle of the night at a sleepover to go home, even if the sleepover was just at Grandma’s house. I never liked sleeping anywhere other than the comfort of my own bed with my cat curled up beside me. So, you can only imagine the overwhelming dread I had about leaving the comfort of my small and cozy town to go to college in Manhattan. I grew up on Long Island and always dreamt about living in the Big Apple a few hours away.

    My entire life, my mom has been my best friend. We always joked about how we were just like Rory and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls. I knew the hardest part of living on my own would be not having my mom’s constant presence and shoulder to cry on when I felt that the world was falling apart. But eventually every bird must leave the nest and spread their wings and fly. 

    Move in day quickly came upon me and before I knew it I was sitting in my dorm room alone wondering, “now what?” For the first time in my life I wouldn’t have my mom right by my side to remind me to eat, to get my homework done or to get to bed on time so I’m not grouchy in the morning. I felt completely alone in a terrifyingly new environment Although I knew my family was only a short train ride away if I ever needed them, I felt completely isolated. The fast pace of the city is so different from the quiet suburban neighborhood I’m from. I felt like I was on a different planet, and I absolutely hated it.

    Living in a suite full of 5 strangers felt bizarre and strange, it felt like a horrible summer camp that wouldn’t end. I remember thinking how cruel the American education system is, forcing barely adults to live on their own with total strangers! When I pictured college, I imagined the people I lived with to be my best friends because that’s what they always show on T.V. Of course, the reality I’ve come to learn is the goal is to get along enough to coexist in the same space. 

    The first week of living away from home was the worst. Adjusting to Manhattan, trying to make friends, and an overwhelming list of welcome activities. I was overwhelmed from all the chaos around me and feared that I wasn’t where I was meant to be. I must’ve cried at least twice a day that entire week. Everyone around me seemed to be making friends easily and walked around as if they didn’t have a care in the world, I felt as though I was the only person in the entire freshman class struggling to adapt. I kept telling myself it’ll get easier once classes start. 

    The adjustment has been hard but it gets easier every day. I’ve learned that there are highs and lows of living away from home. You can go wherever you want whenever you want, but you are also no longer living under the same roof as people who love you unconditionally. I learned to focus on the positives, like the fact that I’m finally living in the city that I’ve dreamt about starting my life in. I also learned that not everyone you meet is going to become your friend, and that’s okay! The right people will come around when you least expect it and stop looking. I found my closest friend at school completely by chance over a game of Apples to Apples during a welcome week activity! I’ve also learned that school work can easily pile up if you don’t prioritize and I’ve found organizational skills to keep me on top of my assignments. And, I finally feel like a true New Yorker because I now know how to use the subway. 

    Nearly 2 months after move in day, I am in a completely different state than during that horrible first week. I love my school and cherish this amazing opportunity I have to learn in such an amazing city. I’ve become comfortable with the independence that living away from home brings and I love the group of friends that I have. I know that things will not always be easy, but right now I’m happy and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the school year brings.


Theatre Arts major with a double-concentration in Writing for the Stage and Theatre History and Performance Texts. Aspiring playwright, theatre goer and book lover
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