I am here to tell you about some of my experiences when I went to college away from my home state of Illinois. I am not sure what people know about the state of Illinois, but I know the first thing I always hear is, “Oh, so you are from Chicago?” No, I am from a city called Rockford which is part of Northern Illinois.
With going to college out of state, one of the more difficult parts for me is not being able to go home as often as I would like. It is hard because I hear a lot of people talk about going home often, and that is something I cannot really do because I live eight hours away. The only times I can go home are - sometimes - fall breaks and always winter breaks and spring breaks. The shorter the break, the harder it is for me to go home because the travel time is not worth the two days I would be home. That is why I prefer to go home for winter and spring break. One of the things I miss about being home is a place called Edwards Apple Orchard. Every fall, my friends and family would go there, walk around and shop at the orchard. One of my favorite type of donuts is from Edwards Apple Orchard, and it is an apple cider donut. This is one of the best things about the Rockford area because people from all over the area go there for this one donut. If I am able to go home for fall break, this is always one of the places I make sure to go. Although I do not get to see my family and friends often, the times I do get to see them, I make sure it counts. I am looking forward to going home for fall break and seeing everyone, and I am especially looking forward to going and getting an apple cider donut!
There are some good things about going to college out of state. For one, I am grateful that I went to school out of state because I do not really know anyone from Martin; that allows me to reinvent myself if I want. I also like that I can learn about different cultures and how living in the South is a lot different from living at home. What I enjoy the most about going to college out of state are the new friends that I have gained from living in Tennessee. I could not imagine these people not being in my life. They have made this my home away from home, and I am grateful for everything that they have done for me and everything that they continue to do. One thing that UTM has introduced to me is my love for Homecoming week and rope pull. We obviously had Homecoming at my first college, but UTM’s is a lot different because of the spirit and Quad City. I love the atmosphere of homecoming week. I love that everyone at UTM has something they can participate in with their organizations. I especially love rope pull because I had no idea what that was until I came to UT Martin. Participating in it for the last three years has been responsible for some of my best college experiences. If I had not participated, I may not have met some of my best friends that I have made while being away from home.
So, thank you to all of my friends here in Martin, Tennessee, who have turned this small town into my home away from home!
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