Senior year of high school: we were at the top of the high school hierarchy, finishing our last credits to graduate, picking out our prom and graduation dresses and getting ready to say good bye to our past. With the pressures of finding the perfect prom date and studying for the SATs also came the pressure of applying to college and starting our new lives as adults.
As a senior, I had pretty much made up my mind that I wanted to stay home and commute to school. I was never one to share my things or my space and I enjoyed the comfort of my own room, my own bed, my parents’ cooking and my dog. I never pictured myself living with anyone other than my family and I thought that it was decided that I was going to stay home.
Through my years in school, I was surrounded by the same people who had been living in our small town in Long Island for decades. My high school ran from seventh grade to 12th with only one elementary school in the district so essentially, I was going to school with the same people since kindergarten. Over the years, I made friends and lost friends. I made strong relationships, and made some enemies and everyday was the same routine- wake up at 7:00 a.m. drive to school, classes from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. drive home and go to work. After a few months of the same routine, I started to realize that I was bored of “the same old same old.”
Not only did I see the same people at school, but working in the mall didn’t really keep me from seeing them outside of school. Don’t get me wrong, it was great seeing my friends outside of classes, but it wasn’t so fun seeing the girls that hated my guts, who I hated just as much. The more I thought about not wanting to see some people outside of school, the more I realized how often I actually did see them outside of school.
As I started applying for colleges, most of which were city schools, I started to consider the idea of possibly going away to college and starting over completely- so I applied to Pace University at the Pleasantville campus, only an hour drive from home. I was genuinely terrified to live on my own and to start at a new school with a bunch of new people from all over the country. I was nervous to live with girls who I only knew from the accepted students Facebook page. What if no one liked me? What if I couldn’t adjust to living on campus away from home? What if the three of my roommates got along better without me? Every negative thought you could think of went through my head but once I got my acceptance letter, I had to start thinking realistically.
I started to weigh out the pros and cons of going away to school, so here’s what I came up with:
Pros: new people, new friends, better opportunities to get involved on campus and be a part of a team or club, commuters miss out on campus activities, schools close enough to go home on the weekends if I really want to but too far to commute.
Cons: sharing a room a.k.a living with strangers, can’t get a car, possible chance I could hate my roommates and not make friends, away from mom and dad, freshman 15.
I contemplated it for a while, but eventually, I realized that it was healthier for me to start my life over in a new location, surround myself with new people, make new friends with similar interests to mine and experience living on my own. So I talked to my parents and after a lot of convincing, I accepted and did it, and it was the best decision I think I’ve ever made for myself. I loved my roommates, they made me realize what real friends are and we love and support each other through everything. I’m a sophomore now and still live on campus with them, I made new friends after joining the dance team, going to parties and campus events and I’m starting to finally figure out what I want to do with my life and in my future.
The point of my story is, for anyone reading this, anyone who’s contemplating going away to school or transferring to a new school, coming from someone who struggled with the decision, if you have the opportunity to experience living on campus even for a semester, do it. A fresh start can be terrifying, but if you think that a fresh start is what you need to get your life together or to simply take a break from being home, go for it. You’d be surprised at the new people you could meet and the amount of fun you could have on your own and if you hate it, you can always move back home. So good luck freshmen and transfers! I’m sure you’ll do what’s best for you in the long run.