When it finally hit me that I was going to move 1,300 miles away from home, I became a wreck. Why would I leave my friends and family? Why would I go away from the beach I love? The cities that made me happy? None of it seemed logical at the time, so I cried silently the entire drive to my new location, my new school.
For the first five months I was terribly homesick. I didn’t know the area and I barely knew the people I was hanging out with. I felt terribly lonely. What I thought I wanted was to live near everything that I knew. I flew back to the coast as often as I could, trying to stay connected to the life I used to have.
But my new life started to morph from being the scary unknown. The people that were practically strangers became my best friends. The ones who were born here were eager to show me around. I started going to more concerts, exploring the neighborhoods, and discovering a new culture that I had no idea even existed. I started to become happy. But most importantly, I started to become more of my own person.
You never realize it at first, but when you move away from what you know, it helps you figure out who you are. Without the influences of your family and hometown friends. There is so much new material around for you to digest and form your own opinions on. You learn more about your likes, your dislikes, your dreams and goals. You learn more about what type of people you enjoy being around. You just learn so much more than you could possibly imagine when you step out of the environment you’ve become so comfortable with.
So my suggestion to all of my young friends(and older!) who are just entering, in, or leaving school:move when you’re young. It doesn’t have to be for four years, it could just be for six months or a year. It doesn’t have to be for school. But do get out of the place you’ve known for a while. You will still love your family and friends just as much. That popular pizza joint near by will still be there when you get back, because its popular and delicious. You have to at least try a completely new location. Go discover new cultures, new people, a new life. It will only help you find out more about yourself and where you want to go next.
Since moving here, I am different in the best way possible. When I go home, I still act like hometown me, but I know that I’m not the same girl I was when I left. I’m grateful for that. To my friends and family who pushed me to move and follow my dreams, I’m grateful for you. Moving at the age I did is really helping me become the person I want to be.
If you have even slightest urge to go, do it. Move when you’re young. Explore. Discover. Learn. Become yourself without the comfort of the known.