Jennifer Zuniga Opinion Editor
As an out-of-state student from Atlanta, GA, I didn’t know what to anticipate coming to Eastern. For the most part, I was filled with a mixed of emotions: anxious and excitement. I was anxious because I had a pile of questions still on my mind such as how was I going to adjust to the weather, who was I going to meet, would I enjoy my experience or miss my family, and how was it going to feel like living on campus. My excitement was for the following reasons: meeting new people, making new memories, visiting another state, and having the opportunity to purse my goals and dreams. I never envisioned myself moving millions of miles away to continue my studies. However, I am grateful that the opportunity to come to Eastern was possible. Being an out-of-state student has its perks and downsides.
The perks of being an out-of-state student includes but are not limited to starting fresh, meeting new people, and having the opportunity to explore other states. Being able to start fresh was relieving. Since nobody knew me, I could present myself differently. My life back high school didn’t matter as much and I could do things differently. While being here in Connecticut, I have had an opportunity to meet people on and off campus. Since I am heavily involved in clubs and organizations, I have been able to talk to people with various of interests and passions. Additionally, the faculty and staff here are so friendly and are always willing to go the extra mile for me and the rest of the students here. Throughout the three years being here in Connecticut, I have been able to interact with the housing staff, professors, administrators, and custodians. Being able to get help and learn more about them outside their profession has brought a lot of insight and has been a tool to guide me with life. Off-campus, I have met people through my involvement with church and other organization such as NEACURH (North East Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls) and C4D (Connecticut Student for a Dream). Through trips provided by Eastern, I have been able to explore Boston, New York, Washington, Maine, and Louisiana. It has ways been amazing to have had the chance to explore places I have never been to. There was freedom in understanding that there was more beyond the Georgia borderline. Also, Connecticut has amazing hiking trails and food otherwise not known by any Southern; an example will be the Willimantic Brewing Company.
The downside of being far away from home are the following: I miss making memories with my loved ones (homesickness) and traveling home can become overwhelming. Since I am here and my family is over there, I have come to recognize and accept that life moves on regardless if they or I want it to. I have missed birthdays, family gatherings, award ceremonies, and so much more. Not being able to be there for important events and knowing that my loved one are aging has been tough. During the long breaks, I have to go back home. Since I am on the other side of the country, it takes me hours to get back home. Traveling, especially on a plane, can be a long process.
Although being an out-of-state student has its perks and downsides, I wouldn’t change it for everything. The memories I am making out of Georgia, the places I have visited, and the people I have met has been unmatched. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be here in Connecticut, especially here at Eastern. All the sacrifices will not be in vain when I walk across the stage next year.