Going away to college:  When distance is just a number

Brittiny Moore

After a 15-hour road trip, my legs were numb and my stomach was heavy with junk food. Arriving in Bowling Green never felt so good.

My parents and grandparents had made the 993-mile trip — a huge feat — to drop me off for my first day at WKU. I watched my mother shed tears as she left her baby behind to begin the next chapter in her life; this is still a common goodbye tradition. Now, almost three years later, the journey home to Dodge City, Kansas, is still a burden.

Packing up and moving hours away from home is an amazing way to experience life, but more often than not, after a bad week of exams, projects and assignments, I find myself wishing I could curl up on my old lumpy bed and listen to the cows moo in the backyard.


Leaving home means leaving the comfort of the people — and sometimes the pets — who love you. 

After countless nights of late phone calls with your mom, time passes. You make friends, and you adjust to life in a once-strange environment. 

We make the choice to move away for different reasons. Regardless of the reason, there is something to be said about the student who braves the unknown.

Niche Ink, a website devoted to in-depth articles and education analysis, reported from a 2012-2014 analysis of users that only 11 percent of students traveled more than 500 miles to attend college while 72 percent stayed in their home state.

As part of the 11 percent, I can’t say I have ever regretted my decision. I chose to leave the comforts of home for more opportunity.

Being such a great distance from a physical support system allows you to grow in ways you might have thought impossible.

At college you’re an adult, and you have to start acting like one. Dad can’t be there to check the oil in your car and make sure you get a change before you blow the engine. You must become observant of all those little details in life your parents always took care of for you.

However, this awareness makes you brave and prepares you for other obstacles in life. You won’t think twice about how far away your study abroad trip is or how intimidating your first internship will be because you’ve done it all before. You’ve reached outside your comfort zone and grown to be more confident in your ability to adapt, learn and stand on your own two feet.

However far from home you go, the true challenge is not the distance you must travel to get there but the distance that lies between you and those you leave behind. This is the challenge to begin anew, to move outside your comfort zone and to allow yourself to take risks that lead to tremendous growth — growth that sets you apart from the rest.