(Un)academic advising: what you learn as an out-of-state student

I came to the college with one thing in mind: to get out of my home state. I was ready to fly the coop and go south – literally, I’m from Alaska. I couldn’t imagine I would think of my home state much, or even miss it, but boy was I wrong.

1. At first, you might forget to call home regularly but eventually you make it a habit.

When you first get to school you’re completely engrossed in it.  You have your own schedule, you’re making new friends and joining new clubs.  You have this whole new life to call your own.  Then you get the passive-aggressive texts, voicemails or even e-mails from your parents asking if you’re alive.

You’ll forget to call them and they’ll continue to remind you to call them, or check in once in a while.  But eventually, you make a habit of it.  You set a time during the week to call or Skype your parents and relatives on a regular basis.  It becomes the normal thing for you to do since you can’t check in face-to-face everyday at dinner like you once might have.

2. If you have to deal with a time difference, you learn that they suck.

Okay, this is something some out-of-staters don’t have to deal with (especially if you’re from the East Coast) but I can attest to the fact that having a time difference from your home state isn’t all that ideal. Having a four-hour time difference from home makes calling frequently even harder.  If I want to call home, I have to wait till it’s at least noon here. By the time my parents are off work around six, it’s 10 at night here.  Not exactly the easiest thing to maneuver around.

3. While a lot of your friends can go home when they want, you can’t.

It is what is is. You come to terms with it, but it doesn’t make it suck any less.

4. You can’t always do the same things for holidays or birthdays that you used to.

This can be pretty rough.  You can’t always go home for big holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter or even your birthday to celebrate like you normally would with your family. You’ll miss this but it’s inevitable.

The upside is you’ll come up with new traditions. Find new ways to celebrate with your friends here. They’ll take care of you and celebrate with you when all you want to do is stay in.

5. Charleston really becomes your home, and you find your own family here.

Those friends I talked about that’ll help you make your own traditions here, become your family.  They’ll be the people you go to when times are hard, when you just need to talk or when you need a break. They’ll be the people that stick around and become those you want to always be around. Whether they’re your sorority sisters, teammates, roommates or your own pod of misfits, they’ll be there for you in good times and bad. That being said, a family comes with the good and the bad. Remember that.

6. You eventually find one of your friend’s families that will be your “family” too for a weekend.

There will be a weekend when you want to just get away.  You can’t go to your home, hundreds or thousands of miles away, so what can you do? Hitch a ride home with a friend for a weekend. No, it won’t be like your home but the chance to be around a family, and probably spoiled by someone else’s parents, does make a difference. It’s a weekend away from the dorms, roommates and stress that is school.

7. Eventually, you miss something about home.

Whether it’s your family, your pets, the weather, your favorite coffee shop or even you parent’s cooking, you will miss something.

It’s not until later that you realize this. For me, it hit right at Thanksgiving break when all my friends were able to go home to see their families and I was stuck here. I missed my parents, cuddling with my dogs, even my little brother.  Now that I only go home once a year at Christmas I appreciate those things even more. Spending time with my parents and talking with them face-to-face, eating a home cooked meal and being with my friends who remained in my home state, I now value two-fold.

Your home is your home, regardless of how thrilled you were to leave it. You’re bound to miss something about it.

After my first year away, I learned so much more about myself and more about what exactly I would miss. I miss my family, my pets and my bed, but overall I’ve learned to appreciate every little thing when I’m home a little more. It’s oddly rewarding.

See you when I get home at Christmas, Alaska.

Marissa Myhill is a sophomore from Fairbanks, Alaska, majoring in communications and english. When she isn’t writing for Cistern Yard, she is playing on the Quidditch team.

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