’19 grad Roman reveals the truth about going away to college

Olivia Love

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The past few months – the first few months of school – are known as some of the most stressful times for high school seniors. 

Especially for those applying for early admission, it feels like there are a hundred things to get done before the holidays.  There’s college tours, the common application, essays, transcript requests, FAFSA, scholarship essays, brag sheets, and so much more. Once all of the applications have been sent, there is a stressful period of time when seniors wait to hear back from their top picks.  After that, there is a relatively calm period where you can go on more specialized tours of schools you have been accepted to. Eventually in the spring, one of the biggest waves of senior stress rolls around. Making the final decision of where you’ll be studying in several short months.  A large percentage of Canfield High School students stay close to home and go to YSU; however, there is a group of seniors that venture a bit farther.

Kat Roman, a 2019 graduate from Canfield made the decision to go to Ohio University last spring and gave some insight on what is was like leaving home, how she adjusted, and how she thinks this choice will and already has affected her life.

When decision day came around for Kat, she was deciding between YSU, OU, and even schools in New York and Chicago.  As it is for most people, distance was a huge factor in the process of picking a college. For some, it might be important for them to stay as close as possible.  However, for Kat, it was important to venture out.

Roman said, “I definitely think that the distance influenced my decision. I always knew I wanted to go away to school, but I wasn’t sure how far.” 

In comparing New York (5-6 hours away) and YSU (20-30 minutes away) , she felt that Ohio University (3-4 hours away) was a good in-between.   

Anyone considering going away from home for college dreads the transition period when they have to say goodbye to the people they have always been surrounded by for the first time. 

Kat agreed that she was no exception to this when she said, “The transition was definitely hard at first. Not seeing the people I was so used to seeing every single day was so weird.” 

After getting over the initial move in, it is just as hard to get settled, especially if you are going to a school with nobody else that you know.

Kat explained how much of a struggle this was for her when she said how hard everything was for her at first, “Especially making friends.  It took a really long time for me to come out of my shell.”

Even after she had settled in, made a group of friends, and developed a new routine, being away was still challenging at times.

“The hardest part was the aggressive feeling of missing out,” she explains, referring to how difficult it is to see and hear about what your loved ones are doing, “I’m so proud of them, but it gets hard sometimes when it feels like everyone back home is moving along without you,” she said.

Everyone has their own ways of coping with the initial struggles of going away.  For Kat, a huge part of this was staying in touch with her loved ones and knowing she had their support.  “Honestly, I’m pretty sure my friends and family think that I’m the most annoying person ever,” she joked. “I Facetime my best friend as much as I can.  Sometimes for hours at a time. And my mom and I call every day even if just to check in.”

For anyone thinking about going away, it is good to know that it is more than possible to stay close with anyone that you left behind.  It just takes effort. This effort also benefits you because you know you have people back home that are there if you need anything or even just to talk about things that new additions to your life may not yet understand.

Though it is true that moving away for college is scary and has its challenges, it does come with a lot of benefits and Kat does not regret her decision at all. 

“I think me being far away is definitely benefiting me,” she explained. “I’m learning a lot of new things and gaining a lot of new experiences that I don’t think I would have gotten as much if I had stayed closer to home.” 

Kat elaborated more on how she thinks things would be different for her now if she hadn’t gone far away for college and the pros and cons to this comparison.

“If I would have stayed closer to home for school, I wouldn’t be as independent as I am now,” she admitted. “Sure I call my family all the time, but it’s a lot different when they are three hours away.”    

So, yes.  Going away for college is scary and often a really challenging transition.  However, for Kat Roman and many others like her, the benefits and how they effect you long term outweigh the homesickness.  You are forced to learn how to depend on yourself and live on your own, preparing you at least four years ahead for living in the real world and having a job.  Staying close with those still in your hometown is not as hard as it seems. You can keep anyone you leave at home in your life as long as the effort goes both ways and add some new friends that you make at school.  Whether you choose to leave home and have these benefits as well as struggles or stay closer, there is no right or wrong way to do it. Staying close to home can be just as freeing and beneficial. It just depends on what you decide to make of your college experience, no matter where you choose to go in the end.

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