Now I know what you are thinking: who uses an old Greek story to describe going to college? As crazy as that sounds, its an easier parallel than you think. First and foremost, we should probably define what an odyssey is. An odyssey can be defined as a journey or adventure, usually far from home and filled with a series of notable experiences. As someone who has graduated college, that just about sums it up. The journey to it can sometimes seem long, whether that is time or distance, and once you get there, there are some many different, wonderful experiences and opportunities for you to enjoy.
The other, somewhat less glamorous, portion of the story is the reason why the hero chose this adventure. That is where this post is coming in, because I want to help you through the thought process of choosing your adventure, aka going to college, so I am going to break down some things you should thinking about when considering going to college far from home.
1) How far is too far?
Everyone has those dreams of going far away to college. Whether it is going out west for someone who lives on the east coast or moving south for someone in the northeast, dreams of exploring a new world fill our heads. When considering different college, this is no different, but amidst the glamour of a new place are somethings that should be considered. For example, if I need to take a plane to get there, is there an airport close by? If I am driving or want to bring my car, how far a drive will that be? The bottom line to answering this question is just to figure out what you are comfortable with doing for travel. If you can handle 8-hour car rides or a layover on a flight, then going far from home may not be as daunting as you think!
2) What will the weather be like?
Now as crazy as this sounds, this is something to strongly consider. No matter how glamorous a dream college may be during a certain time of the year, if you are not going to enjoy it year-round, then it may not be for you. Making sure that you are ready for any season and can see yourself acclimating to it will be key to the enjoyment of the university year-round. So if you are thinking about coming to the south from the north, can you be comfortable in the blistering heats of the late spring and early summer, or if you are going from the south to the north, will those freezing winters be too much to handle? These are the things to consider when going far from how, especially if you are changing up the weather that you will be used to!
3) Will I be alone on this journey?
Going to a new place without any immediate friends or family around is a scary thought, and building a new family is a task that can seem quite daunting, and the answer to the larger question is a little grayer than you may expect. Some days, maybe, while others you’ll be surrounded by so many people you may want to escape to your room for some alone time. Whatever the case may be, there will be someone that is there for you. For some of friends coming out of the state, that was a big worry for them, but to me (someone that lived in state) is was a big draw to seek them out and have a relationship with them. I wanted to be able to have the ability to have a diverse friend group of people that came from all sorts of different places. You will also have the chance to join a variety of different groups and organizations that give you an avenue to explore things that you enjoy and interact with others from all over campus. Putting yourself out there is the best way to find people to take this journey with, so do not be afraid to be bold!
Hopefully this shed a little light on what the journey may be like for choosing a college that may be far from home. While I did not have to travel to far, I had plenty of friends who did. I had buddies from New York, Maryland, Florida, and even an international student from Kenya. At first, they seemed a little scared and did not know what it was going to be like so far from home, but at time went on, they continued to love and enjoy their new experiences. My friend from New York was experiencing real college football and tailgates for the first time, and my buddy from Florida saw leaves change and snow for the first time while here at Furman. So while all this may seem very scary, if a place speaks to you and makes you feel at home, even if it is far from your home, go take that adventure and enjoy every second of it!
Also, this is picture of all those friends, just to show you people really are coming from all over the world! (From left to right of where they are coming from: Florida, New York, Kenya, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia).
By Zach Couch, Admissions Counselor