On August 31th, 2018, with two duffel bags and a backpack, I moved from the Southern suburbs of Baton Rouge, Louisiana to right next to Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. I started my college career at Simmons University, started walking and taking buses and trains everywhere, and started adjusting to the constant cold.
This isn’t to say I don’t love it here. I chose a university up North for several reasons. The first being—as a gender non-conforming butch lesbian I don’t really feel comfortable in most Southern spaces. I also wanted to get out of my bubble, live in another part of the world, and go to a very liberal and accepting university (something I would not find in Louisiana). Really, why does anyone move away from home? To get out of the monotony of your hometown? Maybe. All I can say is that I’m very happy with my choice. But living 1500 miles away from the only world I’ve ever known certainly comes with its own fair share of hardships.
Adjusting to a Different Life
Let’s be honest, adjusting is hard for everyone who leaves home for college. Some of my friends here only moved 30 minutes away, and they get homesick more than I do. Some of my classmates go home every weekend, and they still have a hard time. It makes sense. At home, you have a routine that lasted for 12 years—elementary school, middle school, high school. I didn’t move around a lot, so I got used to my routines and my bubble. When I moved here, everything changed.
I was thrust into the new world of responsibilities, calling people on the phone, and getting stuff done. I moved from my comfortable bedroom into my uncomfortable dorm room with a communal bathroom, having to fetch my own water like a 16th century provincial housewife drawing water from a well.
My relationships are different—my relationship with my parents, namely, since I never see them anymore. My relationship with my professors, with my classmates, with food, with doing homework. I wouldn’t say I feel like an “adult" (whatever that’s supposed to mean), but I do feel like I’m becoming more self reliant and independent.
My entire comfy suburban bubble world has me flipped upside down, but I love it. Why? Because I’m putting myself out there. I’m getting out of my comfort zone, wrangling my university experience by the neck and telling it that I’m its boss. I’m living in a new city 1500 miles away and thriving.
Ultimately, moving away from home is a stressful and sometimes anxiety-inducing situation. There are plenty of changes to face and new situations to take on. The thought that kept (and still keeps) me going is that I’ve already been through so much. These are just the trials of an adult: learning how to be self sufficient, learning how to lean on yourself for some of the hard stuff when you didn’t have to before. However, you don’t always have to rely on yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t.
Support, Insight, and Finding Your Resources
You know that proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child?" I would change that saying to something more applicable: “It takes more than a village to support a broke, stressed college student."
I have no idea what I’m doing here, and neither does anyone else! That’s why most colleges have resources for you. Counseling, academic advising, career advising, tutoring… Take advantage of every single one of these. There are people who know about what you’re going through and who, honestly, know way more than you. Something I’ve had to learn is how to ask people for help. You don’t have to know all the answers, and you shouldn’t—that’s what you go to college for in the first place.
The counseling center in particular has been extremely useful to me. It’s so worthwhile to get advice and insight from someone who has talked to a bunch of other students before you and who knows exactly what you’re going through. Whenever you’re homesick, stressed, anxious, or frustrated, just talk to someone. There are people who are certified to help you. It is incredibly worth it.
It’ll Work Out
Whether you’re about to move away from home, currently moving away from home, or have already moved away from home, it’s important to stop, take a deep breath, and remember that everything will fall into place. It can be really frustrating to suddenly have everything resting on your shoulders. Despite everything, if you remember to seek out your resources to help you adjust to all of the changes, you will thrive. I’m still learning how to accomplish all of this myself. And yet, I know that I have so many people I can rely on. I’m proud of the fact that I moved across the country to get my education.