Moving over 2,000 miles away from home right after high school isn’t something your average teen considers when starting to think about their college experience. In my case things were a bit different. When I decided that moving all the way to California from the suburbs of Chicago was a good idea and I didn’t expect the lack of resistance that I received from my parents. For me life it was all amount expanding horizons and see what there was beyond the cornfields that are Illinois. There was definitely some nervousness here, as with all big decisions, but I didn’t have a the that unsettling feeling of uncertainty. Here are the three most important things I thought about before moving to the west coast that helped keep that feeling away and move with confidence!
The same way relatives, friends, and parents all have different personalities, the same goes for college campuses. Most colleges offer a hand full of unique prospects about their school that draws a lot students who were drawn to the same thing. Whether the draw is the big sports school has multiple national championships, or they’re consistently ranked highly in a certain field, or they have the allure of being located somewhere interesting like a big city, all these factors can influence a students decision. They all also add to what the students will be doing after classes and on the weekends. A football game at one school may be just as big of a deal as the student film festival at another. All of us have different versions of what it means to have fun in life and each college campus will have no shortage of ways to feed your version. Picking a school who’s culture is most aligned with who you are will lead to a more satisfying college experience.
Family and Friends
The support that comes from friends and family during the course of your life is priceless. Whether you went 2 hours away or 2,000 miles, there will come a day when the shine of the new school disappears and you start to get homesick, even if just a little bit. At the age 18 it can be tough to go from seeing certain people everyday, to only talking to them twice a week if the both of you are lucky enough to sync up your free time. Some people will handle this better than others. Hopping on a plane for a visit in the middle of the semester isn’t always an easy thing to do not to mention how that would add up. The convenience of being close to home offers you the ability to take that road trip back home, even if it’s only to use your parents laundry machines. This factor can be looked at as a growth opportunity for some and an nonnegotiable for others. Which is it for you?
Besides the ones listed here, there are a variety of other factors that influence a teenagers decision when it’s comes to picking a college such as: proximity to home, where their friends are going, how good of a party school is it. You know things like that. The list is endless. Finding a school that checks off every item on your list can be a difficult venture depending on how picky you are. I found that the best way to find clarity in this situation is to turn to your imagination. Go ahead, imagine yourself in those four years during your college graduation. Who’s there with you? What experiences have you had? Where are you off to next? This might sound funny to some, but taking the time to imagine what your ideal life would look like gives you the opportunity to better plan for it while also helping you decide what you can handle and what isn’t worth putting up with. Some of these factors will help you grow as a person while others will cause an unnecessary burden. Take the time to be honest with yourself and try to see what you can imagine for yourself.