Both Emma and I traveled a far ways from home to attend college at Grove City. We hail from the gorgeous mountains of Colorado (Emma) and the always-sunny ocean side city of San Diego, California (Kate). So you can be sure that our homes were quite hard to leave. For me, I certainly wasn’t looking to go far away to a college, but as we can both attest, Grove City College was a special enough school to pull us away from our mountain and beach paradises. Below, Emma has done a cost-benefit analysis about the various factors that go into considering “distance from home.”
- Leaving Home: I’m from Colorado, so the most painful cost is leaving the mountains. The mountains are a very special part of my life and leaving never gets easier. I think no matter where you are from, there will always be those aspects you miss because home is a part of you.
- The Drive: 23 hours of driving is quite possibly the worst thing ever. (I won’t complain though because I’ve seen cars from Oregon and California in the parking lot). Make sure you have some good tunes ready, plan delicious food stops, and bring a good driving companion. If you’re driving through Kansas I highly recommend stopping in Kansas City for some barbeque.
- Getting to the airport: If you don’t have a car on campus, it can be a pain to find rides to the airport, arrange a shuttle, etc. but be assured that many students on campus are doing the same thing and Grove City College, at least, provides a shuttle service.
- Packing: I don’t consider myself a heavy packer and yet it really is a struggle. I often come home with less than last time hoping I’ll have enough room in my suitcase, but somehow I always seem to run out of room. I usually wind up shipping myself a box at least once a year. I’ve found that this can be avoided if you leave extra clothing at home that you can wear over breaks, find friends who are driving and send them with some of your things, or just don’t be like me and pack less.
A weekend adventure to New York to visit my friend’s house and to Lake Erie.
- Adventure: Going to college far from home is truly so exciting and I’m glad I did it. You have the opportunity to visit new places that you may not have otherwise.
- Witnessing Community: Out-of-state-ers don’t have the ability to go home every weekend. That said, while it may have been an adjustment at first, it is one of the biggest opportunities to see God provide. Local churches and families embrace students and welcome them readily, and the campus community goes out of its way to make sure everyone feels at home, especially if “home” is far away.
- Going Home with Friends: Whether it’s for a weekend adventure or a short break, it’s so much fun to go home with friends and see new places. Every family I have stayed with has been so kind and hospitable.
- Newness and Change: For those of us not from the area, leaving campus is a big adventure. As a Grove City student, it’s exciting to explore Pittsburgh being from out of state. I thrive off of change and going far from home helped eliminate the mundane and bring in the excitement.
- Care Packages: Chances are, if you feel homesick, your mom will miss you too. There is nothing better than receiving chocolate, pumpkin bread, and many of my other favorite things in the mail.
As much as I love adventure, I was still a bit scared to leave home. I was leaving and entering the unknown. Leaving home to go far away will help mature you in ways you would not expect and give you a new sense of independence. Life is full of unexpected changes so why not give yourself experience now? You may miss home, but you’ll be surprised how much Grove City becomes your new home and you’ll find yourself wishing you were there when you’re at home. Take the leap of faith knowing that even in the days we feel homesick, our heavenly is with us. Nothing can separate us from Him.
Kate, again! I will add that my biggest hesitation of leaving home was not knowing how God would provide. But, to this day experiencing God’s provision continues to be one of the biggest reasons I am thankful for my experience at Grove City- the lasting friendships, the “second home” feel, the connections and mentoring offered there were not just for a season. They last in one way or another, and I continue to look back on my 4 years at Grove City – almost 8 years ago when I first started my journey there – with gratitude for all of the ways I got to witness God provide!