Fundamental lessons in life you can pass on to others arise out of your own fears. At the end of their Junior Year, High Schoolers are usually expected to start researching on what they want to do after High School. They just finished a brutal barrage of AP Tests and final exams, and probably are exhausted socially because of Prom- then they are expected to jump right into the college selection process. They start googling “the best school for their majors” and frantically take notes, trying to add up the tuition cost and seeing where the school ranks in: academics, sports, social scene, surrounding areas.
In the middle of the summer, some will find a perfect fit for where they want to go, and good for them!! There will be one student who can not wait to leave home and venture out far. They may seem like they are completely set on what college they want to attend the next year (even though this might change over time). Unfortunately, there will also be some students who are struck with fear. They have found the perfect college for them, but they are unsure about going FAR from home. They don’t know anything about going away to college. While everyone else has made their decision about where to go, they still haven’t decided..
This is what I kept telling myself when I made the decision to leave Southern California and attend New York University. I was so scared of leaving home and traveling 3,000 miles across the country. I lacked so much confidence in my decision that I almost ditched NYU for a local community college the day before the College Deadline. People gave me tips about going away to college but they didn’t settle with me.
Luckily, my Aunt and Uncle shut me up on a late night hopeless phone call. They kept me grounded and told me to stick with it (nah they actually just told me to shut up- leave us alone, figure it out yourself ok not really). Of course, my mom and several teachers urged me to go for it as well. There are millions of teenagers who may face this situation, they may be afraid, they may not know what to do. They won’t come to grips with the fact that they’re going away to college. I am here to tell them that YES: YOU SHOULD GO FAR FOR COLLEGE!!
PUNCH FEAR RIGHT IN THE FACE!!!!!!!!
There is nothing to be afraid of when you’re going away to college. Everyone deals with fear!! Fear can be a good thing in a sense that it keeps you alert!! A lot of times fear stems from a “fear of failure.”
What if I hate it there and I end up failing at that college? What if it ends up being a horrible decision….
You will never know unless you go see for yourself.
I lived in a small Southern California city for my entire life. (less than 115k population!)
I was so used to easy going weather throughout the year; I never really dealt with seasonal change. I did not have to deal with public transportation. I spent my time mainly at the beach and surfed whenever I could an hour away from home. Most of my family lived close by and we regularly held get togethers for birthdays, graduations, and athletic or musical events. This was basically the only lifestyle I knew, for the past 18 years of my life I only lived like this. I lived in a bubble, and going away to college was the way out.
I was frightened of the unknown. I didn’t know what living in NYC would be like. I would be leaving my family and friends back home. It was like being homesick despite not having a single semester at NYU yet.
I haven’t even had one day at NYU and I was already doubting it?
Get out of your comfort zone!!
- You learn value from getting out of your comfort zone. Going away to college is the perfect time to try out new experiences and gain a sense of independence. In college, it’s you living on your own and meeting new friends. Why not picking a new environment to explore your new life?
- In Temecula, California I was content with the quiet lifestyle. A low-key night life that revolved around history, wineries, and a movie theater.
- When I got in to NYC I realized what I was missing out on. The energy levels of the city, the different cultures..it was a completely new environment. I went from running around a duckpond and a local mall to exploring Times Square, Central Park, and Chelsea Piers (in fact on my first day running in the City I visited all three!)
Do not be paralyzed by fear!!
- You can’t say to yourself: “well I’ve never tried it…it could be fun but I’ll just stay at home and never find out lol!”
- What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t end up liking it? Well at least you had the courage to go out and find out for yourself if it’s the right fit for you!! Going away to college will be an eye opener for you. If you don’t like it you just transfer back home! Simple.
- One strong reason I was scared to go out to NYC was that I wouldn’t know anyone…. DUH! That’s the whole point of going away to college into your first year. As a college freshman, you will be SURROUNDED by other kids who are just as scared as you are. Sure there will be a few kids who know each other already, but nearly all of the kids will be afraid and just want to meet new people.
- I am on the Cross Country/Track team at NYU, I did not know anyone during my first week in Manhattan. As soon as I met the rest of my team, it was just as simple as saying Hello to get to know people. I instantly found a group of friends just by being involved in a group/sport that I grew up with back home…and what a surprise there were more kids from California that I talked to and found out they were hesitant at first about going far from home!!
We run for fun
Your Home Will Always Be There
- Another reason that I was scared of going to NYU was that I had the mindset as if I will never go back home. When you make the decision to go far from home, it’s not like you are forbidden from ever going back! You will have Thanksgiving break, Winter Break, Spring Break, and then another round of Summer to get your fix. Going away to college is an essential experience, but you won’t be gone forever.
- You will learn to appreciate home more. I did not have the opportunity to head back home for Thanksgiving, so after almost four months I finally headed back to Southern California for Christmas. NYC was just in the beginning of Winter and after weeks of sub 40 degree weather the ocean breeze and California sun welcomed me home. While college kids who chose to stay local had the chance to go home every other weekend, I forced myself to grow and learn about independence myself.
- I found a new value for the people close to me back home. During our Christmas Eve Get Together, family members (especially those hesitant about going away to college) asked me about my experience away from home. They laughed about how I initially did not want to go to NYC, and how I changed my opinion about it completely. I was also happy to find out later that I inspired my younger cousins and friends to potentially try going far for college also!
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. –Theodore Roosevelt