Cross Country College Experience: Casey Burke

Many of us choose to attend a college within a reasonable driving time from home, however, some choose universities not so close. Although I attend UCF, which is only 45 minutes from my family, some of my friends picked schools a little farther, like Alabama and Rhode Island.  Moving away to college is a daunting task to begin with, but what about moving not only out of state, but clear across the country?  

I spoke with Casey Burke, who is a senior, studying Hospitality Management at the Rosen Campus here at UCF. Casey, originally from Orange County, California, made the arduous journey across the country to come to UCF.  Here is what she had to say about her move:

  1. Why did you decide to make the move across country? After doing 2 years of community college, I wanted a change in scenery. After touring at UNLV and University of Houston, both great schools for hospitality management, something just didn’t feel right. After touring the campus here (UCF), I knew that this was where I wanted to continue my education. The University of Central Florida has the 5th ranked hospitality school in the Nation and it also had a club water polo team, both important factors in my search.

  2. What were some of the pros and cons when you were deciding whether or not to move? There were plenty of cons moving across the country, and everyone made sure to remind me of them before I left. I was constantly reminded how I didn't know anyone in Florida, my entire family and boyfriend were in California, and my personal favorite, it was hot. Ultimately though, I knew I wanted to experience something different, even if it meant that things were going be a little difficult in the beginning. Plus, Orlando is an ideal place to start in the hospitality industry, since there are over 144,000 hotels.

  3. Tell me what you miss from home. Obviously, I miss my family and friends, but I also miss knowing where everything is. Knowing exactly where the nearest Starbucks is or which freeway to take if there is an accident is something you don’t expect. I also miss In-N-Out!

  4. What made the journey easy? What made it difficult? The easiest part of the journey was the outstanding support of my family. The fact that I also moved with my best friend, Becca, made it all seem less intimidating, as well. The hardest thing about the journey was moving my stuff and car across country. Then, deciding where to live near campus was difficult as well, because we were only able to look at pictures online of the places.

  5. What would you say has been the rock, the one thing you can always count on, in this journey? The rock in my life is definately my mom. My mom is hands down my best friend and has been there through it all. Whether it be the move across the country, adjusting to living on my own, or getting my first big girl job, she is there for me.

Overall, apart from experiencing the usual aspects that weigh in on the highly anticipated move to college, Casey had an outstanding safety net of family, friends and teammates behind her every step of the way, which made the journey from California to Florida just a little easier.  

“Moving across the country is the definition of intimidating, but I’ve made countless amazing memories. I am incredibly blessed with the friends I’ve made and the opportunities I’ve had.”

Photos courtesy Casey Burke.