When I was searching for colleges as a high school junior, I didn’t care that much about how far away my college was from home. I really just wanted to go somewhere that felt like home, but also to a place that would challenge me. The idea of attending college in a region of the US that differed culturally from my hometown in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) really interested me. When I visited Holy Cross, it felt like home, but it was also very different from the PNW. It was the perfect combination of both elements.
I will never regret choosing to go to a college far away from home, even though there have been obvious challenges. Things like moving in and out of dorms, certain emergency situations, and storing my belongings have been complicated by my decision to move far from home. Although these situations have been frustrating at times, being far away from home has allowed me to gain life skills and pushed me to become more independent. Since my parents are not available to drive over quickly to help me with things, it forces me to deal with most issues on my own. I am grateful that I decided to move far away to attend Holy Cross.
Another unique aspect of attending college on the east coast as a native west coaster is the cultural differences. People in New England are generally more blunt than people in the PNW, and the driving is more aggressive. Dunkin’ Donuts is preferred here over Starbucks, which is foreign to me since Starbucks was founded in Seattle, and we don’t have any Dunkin’ stores in the PNW. Another difference is most people assume I’m from Washington, D.C., and I have to say I’m from Washington state. This is very different from my hometown because we only refer to it as DC, not Washington, to differentiate the two places. Also, it seems like people over here are more formal in their fashion and ways of interacting with others, which is different from the casual, laidback style on the west coast. Although sometimes these cultural differences are jarring, and at times it feels lonely because there are only 11 other students at Holy Cross from Washington state, I still really think the cultural differences are fascinating.
Going to college far away from home is definitely worth it. You learn who you are outside of the culture of your hometown, and it pushes you to interact with different types of people and subcultures in the US. College is the perfect opportunity to live in a very different place, which is often not as feasible later in life, and I honestly can’t imagine attending any other college.