When I finally decided that I would be going to college roughly 20 minutes away from my hometown, many people looked at me in confusion. I had friends in every scenario of college picking: the ones that wanted to escape our small town and move far away, the ones that didn’t want to go to college at all, and the ones that couldn’t care less where they were attending. I get the same questions all the time…“You go to college only 20 minutes from your house?” or the typical, “Your family must stop by and bother you all the time”, or let’s not forget, “Don’t you want to go far and explore?” I hear it all, and still do, but I am beyond happy with my decision.
When I was going through my college decision days, my parents had it drilled in my head to look at The College of New Jersey. Looking back now, they were right in this little hidden opportunity-filled school, but I was your typical teenager trying to do the opposite of what my parents said. I wanted to have this new start, explore the world and be different, not sure why (being only seventeen at the time). I looked at school after school and tried to veer away from this little hidden beauty that was in my own backyard, but ultimately when it came to decision day, I knew that TCNJ would become my home.
With today’s views and stigmas about where to go to college, I am constantly questioned about my decision to go to my medium, suburban college campus, tucked away in the midst of Ewing, New Jersey. TCNJ has been, and continues to be, the best decision I made. I feel at home here. Not once can I walk to class and not see a familiar face to say hi to, or feel like another number. Now thinking back to May of my senior year of high school, I cannot picture myself going anywhere else. Yes, we all have our ups and down in the beginning, but that is with everyone trying to find their place. I will say that my experience here has shaped me into a stronger and better person.
I had to remember that everyone is different and I couldn’t let my friend’s decisions on where to go to college affect mine. Now, I cannot imagine or be willing to go to a school 1,500 miles away. Looking back, I used to cry every day of kindergarten at the thought of not seeing my mom for 8 hours. Yes, that eventually went away, but how did I honestly think I could go to the other side of the country for college.
For me, being close to home was the best option. Yes, I have plenty of friends that go far and love it, but they is great for them. For me, there are so many reasons that I love going to school close to home, but these are a few of my favorites.
1. Home Cooked Meals Whenever you get sick of the dining hall’s options you can easily take your college friends to your house for a nice meal! Or even take some containers back to stock up in your fridge….
2. Knowing the Area Whenever you get bored you know all the top cool spots to visit, and exactly how to get there.
3. Being able to visit your high school friends in cool cities If you have separation anxiety from your home friends you can easily drive your car to visit them, and see their cool towns.
4. Or contrarily, have them visit you whenever they are Home! Even better! Convenience is key.
5. Being able to see my family whenever I want, but not be forced.You can still go to family parties and your cheer on your siblings at their games, but be back on campus the same nights. It’s a win win situation!
6. Forgetting something is not big deal! If you are anything like me you forget things so easily, whether that be your favorite shirt or makeup, but it isn’t hard to go back and get it, instead of having to have something shipped to you.
Yes, I go to school close to home. Yes, I love it. End of Story.