What It’s Like to Go Away for College

This is literally what it feels like.

College is a part of life that most of us either get super pumped for or dread the thought of even being there, but when you’re making the effort to travel away from home, it’s makes things slightly more difficult.

Being from Hawaii and deciding to further my education in Colorado, I’d be lying if I told you that the transition from being at home to living on my own wasn’t hard, especially when you don’t know anyone attending the same college as you. Although I’ve only been in college for two months, I’ve already learned a whole bunch of things that I never thought this experience could teach me. I’m here to tell you my story about traveling from an island the middle of the Pacific Ocean to one of the dryest and colder states in the US.

The Calm Before The Storm

As a graduate of high school, all I could think about was getting off of what most Hawaii locals on Oahu call “the rock” which is referring to the island and how small it is compared to everywhere else in the United States. For me, I wanted to see what was out there in the world and I was so motivated to venture out from where I’ve been for so long. I had this vision that college was going to be straight out of what I invisioned to be a dream; having the greatest roommates, making tons of new friends, doing things I’ve never done before, and getting to explore a state I’ve never been to before. I’d like to say that the closer I got to leaving, the more excited I was to go. When you feel like there’s so much out there that you haven’t experienced yet, your excitement is what makes you forget all the negative things that could happen during your time away from home.

However, there is always that doubt in the back of your mind that questions if leaving for college is the right decision or second-guessing yourself and making you wonder if you made the right choice. I found myself in this predicament several times and honestly, it freaks you out when you’re unsure about something that’s already set to happen. I started to think about the people I’d meet and what it’s like to be at the bottom of the food chain again as a freshman in college.

The day that I left was almost a blur, mainly because I was just so excited for what I was about to do in this next chapter of my life. If you’ve ever had that feeling of when you were a little kid who was excited to go to Disneyland for the first time, that’s how I was feeling about college. I couldn’t sleep on my flight to Colorado because I kept playing college scenarios in my head, thinking about what I’m expecting when I get there and move in to my dorm.

My parents came with me to help me get settled in for my first year of college and I loved every minute of it! I got to explore a little bit of the area with them and spend my last few days with them before I’d have to wait another four months to see them again. It was weird when the day come for them to leave because I thought I was going to get all emotional but, to my surprise, I felt more excitement than sadness. It was official; I’m on my own now!

When It Rains, It Pours.

Here’s where things take an unexpected turn for me. I found myself quickly starting to fall apart for a variety of reasons; I was all alone, I didn’t know anyone, and I felt like something in my life was missing. It’s tough being away from home because there was nothing else that I wanted to besides get on a flight and head back home to where I belong. It’s funny how you don’t appreciate anything you’ve had until you don’t have it anymore, which is how I felt not being in my own home with my family anymore and it’s truly a shock when you realize that you’re seriously depending on yourself only.

It’s almost inevitable that going away for college will make you feel homesick. In my case, this feeling of being homesick hit on the second day of college. I missed being able to eat a homemade meal prepared by my mom and going to hang out with my best friends at the beach. I couldn’t go down the road to buy a poke bowl (raw fish prepared in various fashions served with steamed white rice) at Foodland (grocery store in Hawaii) and drink a can of Hawaiian Sun (juice company) Strawberry Guava juice. There’s an entire list of things I missed about home and it sucked when I realized I can’t do any of that where I was. Of course, care packages are always nice (believe me on this, they’re glorious) but it’s not the same when you‘re away from home.

The thing I struggled with the most was meeting new people and making new friends. Personally, making friends is always a challenge for me because I don’t like opening up to people I don’t know. In this case, I needed to be able to break free from this anit-social shell (social shell… say that five times fast) and get myself out there to meet some potential new friends. It was strange having to make new friends again because I so used to seeing the same people every day and hanging out with my usual group of friends.

After a Hurricane, Comes a Rainbow.

Two months later, I’m loving everything college has to offer; I’ve made some pretty awesome friends, my roommates are great, and I’m enjoying the classes I’m taking. I’ve been able to eat at places we don’t have back home in Hawaii and I’ve also gotten to explore a few of the MANY things Colorado has to offer. I’m still waiting for the snow though, mainly because I’ve never seen it before.

However, the best part about going away for college is being able to experience things you’ve never done before and take up opportunities that being at home can’t offer. I may be a little more biased because being from a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there’s really not much you can do. I know I’ve got a lot more things on my list to do while I’m here in Colorado for the next four years, but if you’re thinking about going away for college, I promise you it’ll be a decision you won’t regret making.

I found that I’ve already learned a lot about myself over the past few months and I never thought I was capable of doing the things I’ve been doing. I wash my clothes once every week, I make my bed every morning, I clean my room a little each day, I study for my classes, and even have extra time to sit on my laptop and binge watch Young & Hungry on Netflix (if you haven’t watched that show, you should).

I’ve also learned that when you’re about to go back home for the long breaks in between semesters, you tend to appreciate everything you did or were given before you left for college. There are so many things that I can’t wait to do when I go back home in Hawaii in the next couple months and it really makes you enjoy everything you had.

As a Lasting Thought…

If you were too lazy to read all of that, here’s my lasting and final opinion:

I believe that going away for college is one of the many great things you should do in your lifetime. Not only are you furthering your education, but you’re growing as a person in the process. Don’t let the fear of being away from home keep you from making your decision because you can always find your way back home if you end up not liking it. Just try it out and if you find that it’s not for you then at least you can say that you made the effort to see what it was like.

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