Going off to college

Tessa Kelly is a proud cum laude graduate from The College of Charleston in South Carolina. She has a B.A. in Communication with a minor in Business Administration. She is currently attempting to make sense of this crazy thing called postgraduate life


Growing up in and attending high school in a small town is an experience that I will never take for granted. Swansea, South Carolina is the type of place that country songs are written about. It boasts two stoplights, lawn mower races, a water tower, and Friday night football games that are a bigger deal than the super bowl. This kind of town has the level of southern hospitality that makes you never want to leave. Everyone knows everyone and the friends you graduate from kindergarten with are the same friends you graduate from high school with. This level of comfort is something that may seem impossible to leave behind, but when it comes to taking that next step after graduation, going away for college just might be the best thing you’ve ever done.


I chose to attend college in a city where I didn’t know a single person and it was truly the best decision of my life. It was a decision that catapulted me into some of the most formidable years of my life thus far. Therefore, if you’re thinking of leaving behind the comforts of home for a school in a brand new place here’s a few things to keep in mind.


  1. Just do it. Nike said it best, just do it. Thinking about leaving a place that you know like the back of your hand for a foreign city can be intimidating to say the least. It may be easier to stay in your hometown or attend the local school where all of your friends are going, but going somewhere completely new will do more than just provide a change of scenery. It will expand your entire horizon.


  1. Talk to everyone. I mean literally everyone you encounter throughout your day, ok maybe not the creepy guy with the candy and the van, but you get my point. By leaving, your hometown behind you’ll also be leaving behind your friends and family. You will be forced to create an entirely new social circle and that’s ok. Stepping outside of your comfort zone to make new friends will do wonders for you personal perspective on life. By having no one, you will more than likely befriend individuals who are unlike any of your friends back home. These new friendships will allow you to learn about cultures, places, and things that you would have never experienced had you not left small town USA.



  1. Explore. Go out and see what your new city has to offer you. Try new foods, new activities, and even new people (if that’s what you’re into). Becoming involved with the local area will help you feel less homesick and help to rebuild the sense of community you left behind.


It’s cliché to say, but college is a time for self-discovery and growth. Going away for college creates an opportunity for you to unapologetically become anything you want to be. There will be no prior expectations of you from the people you meet and the only limitations you encounter will come from yourself. Take it from someone who traded a small town for a big city and received more than just an academic education in the process.

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