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Lessons Learned As An Out-of-State College Student

My freshman year here at the University of Michigan has been amazing — it has introduced me to new friends, interesting classes, and unparalleled resources, and I have learned how to be both independent and reliable. However, one particular aspect of my experience differs from a lot of Michigan kids, and that is the experience of being from out of state.

1. Traveling by plane can take almost as long as driving

My family drove to Michigan to drop me off, and after the terrible 10 hour journey we all promised it would never happen again. I did not realize that even going by plane can take me forever. New York traffic can make my journey to the airport an hour and a half, and then an hour at the airport, and then an hour and a half on the plane, and then another 30 minutes waiting for my bags, and then another hour (if I take the university bus) or 40 minutes if I take an uber, until I’m finally on campus. Include last-minute delays and my average travel time turns out being around 7 hours.

2. It’s easy to get annoyed at in-state kids

I cannot remember the number of times I’ve rolled my eyes when my in-state friends complain about their parents making them go home because at least they have the option. Furthermore, they have the luxury of never having to do their own laundry, which is probably what I’m most jealous of.

3. It pushes you to be independent

As I mentioned above, not having your parents around pushes you to be a lot more independent. Whenever I’m sick, I can’t just go home. When I’m sad or crave home-cooked food or just need a break from college, I can’t do anything about it. It’s made me learn how to be with myself, take care of myself, and deal with things on my own. It’s pushed me to become a more independent and strong person.

4. It’s the best of both worlds

As annoying as it is to go back and forth all the time and to have to deal with planes, cars and unnecessary delays, living out of state is also one of the most character-building aspects of my college experience. In no other way would I have learned how to be as independent I am today or as appreciative of the time I do get at home.


Photos courtesy of Bryan Krahn, Flickr, and International Champions Cup.

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