Location. It’s usually one of the biggest factors that influence your initial college selection process and ultimate decision.
During my college search at this time last year, I had some pretty sizable reservations about leaving Texas and my southern heritage behind. I remember confidently telling everyone that I was only applying to Northeastern schools and California schools (to get as far away from Texas as possible), but in the back of my mind, I always thought about the distance that I would be putting between me and my friends and family. It was especially hard to think about leaving my brother (age: 14) and sister (age: 12), as they were just starting to grow up. I knew that I didn’t want to miss out on their lives and be that anonymous older sister in college, yet I also knew that I really wanted to go to college somewhere entirely different from Texas. In my mind, throwing myself into a foreign environment would allow me to gain entirely unique experiences; thus, allowing me to become my own person. Ultimately, I decided that I would have to leave my friends and family in order to grow up and accomplish the things that I wanted to do with my life.
A year later, I’m happy to report that my decision to attend Johns Hopkins in Baltimore was definitely the correct one for me. I love that I’m able to start fresh in a new environment and learn from such a diverse group of students. I’m also extremely happy to say that I’m just as close with my family and friends, if not closer. Facebook, skyping, texting, and calling have made it entirely possible for me to stay connected with my friends and family back home. There’s also a great tradition amongst almost all of the universities and colleges known as “Parent’s Weekend”.
Our Parent’s Weekend was this past weekend, and I can definitely say that the weekend surpassed my expectations. From showing my family around campus to taking my sister to a couple of classes to making an extreme grocery shopping expedition to eating dinner with a few of the girls on the tennis team and their parents, it was a very memorable weekend. Most importantly though, I realized that I was just as close with my entire family as I had been eight weeks ago. Living in Baltimore has not severed all of my old ties from back home, but it has allowed me to branch out and acquire novel experiences that I know I could not have had in Texas.
Your old friends and family will always play a part in your life if you want them to. Don’t let the word “location” scare you!