Leaving Home for College
February 13, 2017
By: Kirsten Mann, Intern
I got accepted to Grand Valley State University in the middle of my senior year of high school. It was the only university that I had applied to because it was the only one that I really wanted to attend. My older sister was a junior at GVSU when I was a senior in high school and I fell in love with the university through visiting her. My mom didn’t want me to go away to school, partly because she didn’t think I was ready and partly because she said she would miss me too much.
I wasn’t home when my acceptance letter had arrived at my house; I was at the local Biggby where my boyfriend was working at the time. He worked at Biggby while he attended school at a community college and was planning on transferring to GVSU after two years. He may be partly to blame for me choosing to leave home. I was sitting at the coffee shop when my mom texted me that I received a large envelope from GVSU. We had talked a few weeks earlier that I most likely would receive a letter if I had been declined, so I knew I had to have been accepted.
Up until I had gotten my acceptance letter from GVSU I was planing on going to a community college back home. My parents thought it would be smarter considering the money I would save. I didn’t know what to think when I had finally gotten the acceptance letter. I didn’t know if I should have been happy that I was accepted, or worried that no one would want me to go. My grades in high school weren’t of top quality, so many of my family members didn’t think I would get accepted right away. My sister was “wait-listed” when she first applied.
A lot happened my last year of high school that had to do with me choosing to go to a university 2 hours away from home. My parents decided to get a divorce the first couple months of school and that process went on throughout the year. My family was kind of a mess during that time, so part of me wanted to stay and fix it, but I knew I had to leave and fix myself first. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy leaving all of that behind, especially my younger sister who had to be left home alone. It was hard, really hard.
My family is all on the east side of the state, so communicating with them through my years at college haven’t always been the easiest. Sometimes I barely hear from them and other times I hear from them on the daily. I love to hear about their lives and what they’re doing without me there because it makes me feel sort of like I am there. It’s even better when I’m able to go home for a few days, or they are able to come visit me. Through all of our troubles in the past we are lucky to be closer than ever.
Being away from home has taught me a lot, especially how to be more independent. I’ve always been an independent person, but only to some extent. I would like to say I’ve grown up as a person throughout my college career. Though I don’t remember too well what my mindset was like my freshmen year, I would like to think that I’ve become a much more positive person with a brighter outlook on life.
I’ve learned to appreciate the little things, especially the leftovers from a meal that you had when your family came to visit. I’ve become more grateful for what I have and the opportunities that I’ve been blessed with. I’m a senior at a university that I’ve attended for 4 years and am graduating in the spring with a bachelor’s degree that I hope to use for some good toward the community; what could be better than that?
Choosing to leave home was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I wouldn’t change a thing about the experiences and lessons I’ve learned while I was away.