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Is Leaving The Nest The Best?

I think at one point or another we have all wanted to go away for college, whether it’s to get away from parentals or just for a change of scenery. However, some people choose to stay closer to home. Sometimes it’s for financial reasons (it’s way, way cheaper — and nobody wants student debt), and […]

(illustration by Joaquin Romero)

I think at one point or another we have all wanted to go away for college, whether it’s to get away from parentals or just for a change of scenery. However, some people choose to stay closer to home. Sometimes it’s for financial reasons (it’s way, way cheaper — and nobody wants student debt), and sometimes it’s just not being ready to venture into the world of adulthood alone. College will be a similar experience no matter where you go, but there are some differences that arise between those who stay close to home and those who go away for college.

The idea for this article came from a conversation I had the other day with my friend, Noemi Martin (’18). You see, I used to want to attend university in Europe — all four years. Eventually I reeled it back and settled on America, but that didn’t stop me from applying to schools on the east coast. Plus, it’s not like I’m giving up on Europe; there’s so many opportunities to study abroad. But Noemi shares my European aspirations — she wants to go to school in Switzerland. She’s been accepted and everything! (Yay Noemi!)

But being so far away from home, whether in another state or another country, presents some challenges. Going away to college results in a degree of separation no matter what, but there’s still a difference between staying in state and, well, not. There’s this almost subliminal understanding that you have when you stay close to home; your parents are somewhat close, home is a simple car ride away, and you have the option of going home for the weekend. People who move away don’t have that luxury.

Beyond the obvious differences, there lie some areas that people might not realize will be affected by distance. For one thing, I know for a fact that people who stay home usually do their laundry at their parents’. When I was talking with Noemi we came to the realization that the stereotype that college students take their laundry home to wash it is 100% accurate. We both have siblings that are either in college or recently graduated and both of them always bring their laundry home! And they don’t even live that close — my sister went to Sonoma State and Noemi’s goes to Chico State.

“[My sister] came home this weekend and on Friday she did five loads of laundry,” Noemi laughingly shared. “She made me take my clothes out of the laundry machine. Not cool.”

I guess it’s part laziness and part not wanting to waste a quarter? Actually, it’s more likely the fact that spending a couple of hours in a laundromat sounds like a less than ideal way to spend the weekend. Either way, if you go to college in another state, mommy can’t do your laundry every weekend.

Speaking of seeing your parents, get ready to see them solely for the holidays if you move out of state. There are no weekend visits when you’re a plane ride away. But on the bright side, we have things like FaceTime nowadays to make the distance seem not so far. Although, to be honest, I feel like I will definitely end up missing my pets more than my parents — and you can’t play fetch over Skype.

Oh, and if you can’t cook, get ready to embrace the ramen noodle diet. We’ve all heard the horror stories of the freshmen fifteen, and it’s really no wonder when so many of us lack pretty basic cooking skills. I was talking to Julianne Downing (’18) the other day about how she seriously needs to learn to cook at least one dish before going off to study at Notre Dame (Yes, I’m calling you out, Jules.). Her excuse?

“[Notre Dame’s] dining hall is insane. There’s different stations and it’s [basically] like ten different restaurants. I will never go hungry again.”

Okay, so Jules has a point — most colleges have cafeterias and dining plans, and nowadays it’s way easier to get good food thanks to services like Postmates. But nothing beats a home-cooked meal. Plus, it’s way cheaper to cook at home rather than eating out — something that should seriously be on the mind of a budget-conscious college student. Now, if you stay close to home, you always have a home-cooked meal waiting for you. If not, well, you better get learning.

Not to mention the matter of moving. When my sister was in college, we would help her move in and out of her dorm or apartment each year, and she would store all her stuff at home. If you move out of state, you’re not going to have the luxury of storing your stuff at your parents’ for the summer. Maybe get a storage unit?

And for all the people who go out of state, just hope to God your parents can come help you move in and pack up at the end of the year, because moving is the absolute worst form of torture I have ever experienced.

When it comes down to it, you should really go to college wherever you love and feel drawn to, no matter how far it may be from home. College is a time to get out and experience new things, something you’ll be able to do regardless of whether you stay close to home or not.

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