1,000 Miles From Home
Moving away from home can be an uneasy experience for people of all ages, and moving 1,000 miles away, with no safety net close by, can be even more terrifying.
I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. I went to the same school from the time I was 4 years old till the time I graduated, and now I am living on campus at Arcadia — 1,000 miles away from home, starting all over. I have to admit I was terrified to leave everything I had ever known, to experience being a new kid for the first time, not knowing a single person or even how to work public transit.
In May, after I decided to go to Arcadia, I received an email recommending an app called ZeeMee, designed to help students connect with one another. Not even 20 minutes after downloading the app I received a message from a girl who would later become my roommate and close friend. I was comforted knowing who my roommate was before I came to campus, and it made the initial transition and anxieties about living with a stranger float away. My roommate’s mother is in the military, so she grew up moving around a lot and was great at meeting new people. She helped me get accustomed to an all-new environment quite quickly and make friends.
The majority of my anxieties dissipated when I started classes. I have fallen in love with every class I’m taking and have grown to respect each of my professors. They all understand the difficulties of starting college and check up on students frequently, while also promoting the passion they have for the subject they teach. Having a peer mentor for my seminar class has also been a valuable resource. I’ve been able to go to them with questions and ask questions about the Learning Center as well. It helps a lot to have someone who has gone through these transitions recently and who genuinely cares about the class and school.
In addition to people being available to help you and to talk to, there are support groups and events to promote mental health and a comfortable campus. Arcadia made it clear during Welcome Week and many times afterward, that they have easily accessible support systems and programs in place to assist me and all students in this transition.
Honestly, this transition hasn’t been as hard as I feared it would be. And a few months in, I can say without hesitation, terrifying is overrated.