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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

From the wee age of 10, when I first envisioned myself going to college, it was somewhere on the East Coast. I vividly saw myself walking the streets of New York or Boston, taking in the chilly winters as though I wasn’t a girl who’d lived her whole life in Southern California. When people asked me where I thought I’d end up, without hesitation, I told them, “Boston University, NYU, or Columbia.” They’d commonly retort about how far away from home it was. I couldn’t explain why I felt so deeply that I needed to be there; I just did. I needed to venture far away.

When it came time to apply for colleges, my applications reflected this young-hearted desire of mine. I was lucky enough to apply to 19 schools from all over the country, but mainly on the East Coast and in California (something I pressured myself into doing to see how I would fare against my peers). I became obsessed. The month of March couldn’t possibly come any slower.  

Despite my first few rejections, I was determined to get into my dream schools. However, further into March as decisions began to roll in, something peculiar happened; I was getting into these places, but I wasn’t as excited as I thought I’d be. Instead, fear began to seep into every corner of my mind. I was haunted by the $90,000 tuition and six-hour flights. My fiery passion to move away became replaced by a new affection for my home state of California.

UC Berkeley campus
Photo by Sophie Ward

So, as March continued, I got pushed further and further into confusion. How would I deal with knowing I had the opportunity to attend my dream school and let it pass? 

On March 31, when I got to UC Berkeley, things changed, and once I toured, everything grew much clearer. I saw it as the perfect balance of an East Coast style campus within my home state. It was far enough for me to feel like I was on my own, but only an hour’s flight away. It was a big school in a college town. It was perfect

I was shocked at myself over my consideration of staying in California, but I immediately knew the moment I stepped on UC Berkeley’s campus that I would end up there. This experience isn’t isolated to Cal. All over the country, people find their places where they least expect it. 

A year later, I’m almost done with my freshman year, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to remain in California and attend UC Berkeley. For many others like myself, going across the country for college is something people set themselves on doing, but they too should remember when you find your place, it may be much closer than expected.

Sloane Moriarty

UC Berkeley '27

Sloane is a freshman at UC Berkeley studying English, and minoring in education. She is passionate about writing and literacy because she finds words and communication to be the single most important factor in the development of our world. She loves to read and write because it can expand one's ideas and force their beliefs to grow. In her free time, she loves to spend time in the ocean, explore the outdoors, and try new restaurants. She is excited about her future at UC Berkeley and plans to get her masters in education and become a teacher.