When I first began thinking about where I wanted to go to college, maybe in my freshman or sophomore year of high school, I fantasized about going off to a faraway place, full of exciting people and ideas, and most importantly, a new start. The most important component of this fantasy of mine was the distance from home. I was going to go as far as humanly possible from California. I just needed to experience something different, not because I was living a bad life, but mostly because I was beginning to feel restless in life at home.
Now, flash forward several years, and I just graduated high school, and all of my friends were slowly leaving me, one by one. Most of them were going to school in California, all within a car ride from home. But not me, I was going to Pennsylvania, 3,000 miles away from our town.
Once we hit August, I was starting to freak out a little bit. I began doubting my decision to go to school far from home, the desire that I had held for so long.
What if I don’t like it there?
What if I miss my dog and my parents and my sister?
What if I don’t make any friends and I’m stuck across the country knowing absolutely no one?
Why didn’t I just stay in California like everyone else?
These fears persisted throughout that month, and even through move-in day. I was setting up my dorm room, so worried about my new life. It was a lot harder to say goodbye to my parents than I thought it would be, and I will admit that I shed a few tears and had trouble falling asleep that first night alone.
But, it got better. A lot better. Once classes started, I got into a really solid routine, and I began forming really fast friendships with people around me. I wasn’t nearly as homesick as I thought I would be, which was something that came as a big surprise to me.
I knew that I was in the exact place that I needed to be. I knew that if I was at home, I would feel like I was wasting my life away. I knew that I needed to be somewhere that would challenge me and make me a better person. And that is exactly what I have found at Swarthmore. I feel like I have changed so much for the better since I have come here. And maybe I would have found this at another school closer to home. But, I chose to come to Swat, not go to some other school, and I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I have had here for the world. I’m so glad that I took a chance and went far from home.