Going to college is a big decision in and of itself, but when you decide to go to an out-of-state university, the decision might seem even more daunting. Depending on what your background is (Are you originally from a big city? Have you moved to a new place before?), a big move to Arcadia’s campus may be easier. But overall, it will still take some getting used to. College is often the first time we live alone, and pairing that with being in a completely new state may cause some anxiety for new students—I know it did for me.
I came to Arcadia’s campus from New York. No, not New York City, but a small town in Central New York called Cortland. I had never moved in my life, and had never really been near a big city for an extended period of time. Although I was apprehensive about leaving my comfy small-town life for something new, I was also excited. I knew that being near Philadelphia would give me opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Luckily, I learned soon enough that Arcadia has the best of both worlds. Campus is small, cozy, and had just what I was looking for in a smaller school. I never felt overwhelmed because it was easy to navigate, and had a lot of cool and pretty places to hang out (like the Castle and Easton Cafe). The activities offered throughout the semester made me feel more welcomed and engaged with campus life. But if I ever got bored, or just wanted a change of scene, I knew Philadelphia was only a 30-minute train ride away.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Having both environments, small and large, so close and accessible is one of Arcadia’s biggest perks. When moving from out of state, the anxiety that inherently comes with it can be quelled by diving into new and exciting environments, while always returning to those that comfort you.
Those of you who have not been to Philadelphia will probably want to go sightseeing, and you can do that either during orientation week, or any time after! I would recommend all of the famous tourist destinations, like the Liberty Bell, Eastern State Penitentiary (especially when they are hosting Terror Behind the Walls around Halloween), Independence Hall, Reading Terminal Market, and all the great museums like the Museum of the American Revolution and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (make sure to take a picture with the Rocky Statue!).
Some other, maybe less known, sites and activities I recommend as a non-native Philadelphian are Shofuso, a traditional Japanese house and garden; taking a ghost tour in Old City, going to a concert at one of the many venues here, or visiting a cat cafe; and spending some time wandering the thrift stores this city has to offer, especially Philadelphia AIDS Thrift.
The best advice I can offer is to embrace the things that come your way with a change of environment. Change can be scary, but by knowing what you want to do here before coming, you’ll have things to look forward to, even if leaving your home state is hard.