Missing Out in College


drawing by Rachel Tian

An exciting new life awaits college-bound seniors, but with graduation comes the inevitable feeling of losing all that was once familiar.

Rachel Morrell, Staff Writer

Ever since my freshman year, my biggest goal has been to graduate and attend college out of state. The idea of living away from home and starting a new, independent, chapter in my life excites me. I cannot wait to share a dorm with new people, work on my own schedule, and be self-sufficient  Even the menial tasks, like grocery shopping or scheduling doctors’ appointments, seem glamorous in my eyes. 

In a study reported by The Washington Post, 58% of high school graduates attend college within 100 miles of their hometown, while 72% stay in-state. Only 11% travel over 500 miles from their hometown. I find myself comfortable in the last category, as all of my top college choices are on the other side of the country. 

Living out-of-state and away from family has its own benefits as well. Being able to run your own life without the involvement of others must be so freeing. If I were to live in another state, I would finally have my own space void of snoopy little siblings. It may look as if I dislike my family, but in fact I love them very dearly. The concept of being an adult and making my own roots is something I cannot wait any longer for.  

And yet, despite all of the new responsibilities and experiences that adult life has to offer, the consequences of leaving my home and family have begun to make me question my choices. 

As the oldest child in my family, I have always been the first to try new things. Whether it was being the first to start high school or get my driver’s licence, I felt like the “guinea pig” in the family. Going to college without the guidance or experience from any older siblings scares me and pressures me to do everything right in order to be a good example to my younger brothers. 

Another fear of mine, and the saddest in my opinion, is that if I attend college far away I will miss out on family events. Not being present for the day-to-day interactions and dinner table conversations makes me afraid of losing my connection to my family. I know that I will not be cut off from my family, and I plan to visit during the holidays and call my mom on a weekly basis.

The future ahead of me is one I cannot wait for, but a part of me wishes to stay home and keep everything the same.”

But what worries me most is my relationship with my younger siblings. 

I have two younger brothers, one a freshman and the other a fifth grader. We get along relatively well, and I enjoy being able to see them every day. We all do our homework and chores together, allowing us to have quality time without being separated by our ages or responsibilities. Our inside jokes, fun activities, and genuine friendship mean the world to me.

I’m not concerned that my younger brothers will grow closer as they grow up — it’s bound to happen. But I fear that while I am away at college I will miss out on important events in their lives. They have watched me grow up and proceed through high school, but I won’t be there to see their growth and maturation if I attend college far away. Sure, I will keep in touch, but there is something different about being there in person. The last thing I want to happen is to grow apart from them, but there may be no other way. 

I hate feeling so conflicted. Being an independent, young adult is something that I am completely ready for. This is something I’ve waited and dreamed for so long, but my anxieties and worries make me drag my feet. The future ahead of me is one I cannot wait for, but a part of me wishes to stay home and keep everything the same.