Letter to the Editor: Perspective from an Out of State Student

The amount of times I have had to explain where I’m from and why I’m here is incredible.

The typical introductions when I meet new people include, “Where are you from?” and ” What’s your major?” When I respond I’m from New York, their immediate thought is that I’m from New York City.

False. I’m from Camden, New York, a small town with a population of 3000, 2 stoplights and a whole lot of Friday night light attitudes. I have to explain this and still their response is “WHAT?? Why are you in Wisconsin? It’s so boring here.”

I then go into how I was a wildlife major, and of course they understand immediately why I’m at Stevens Point because as we all know UWSP is known for its natural resources program. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve had to answer that question, I’d be able to pay an entire semester tuition. I should’ve just made a business card with the reasoning as to why I’m here on it and handed them out when someone exclaimed “Why are you in Wisconsin?”
Now of course everyone has obstacles in their lives. It’s just some of us mature faster and are more responsible than others.

I will fully admit I am not as independent as I would like to be, but moving away from home was probably the best decision I have ever made. In high school, like any 18 year old, I thought all I wanted was to get away from my hometown and everything that had to do with it, which meant every friend I had ever made and my entire family.

The first semester of school was great. I had no parents, no curfew (not that I had one to begin with), endless options as to what to eat, no mom yelling at me to wake up, no parents telling me to go to sleep and no parents yelling at me to do my homework, but all these things also meant that I was responsible for myself. I had to wake up on time, I had to eat a good diet, I was responsible for setting time aside to study and going to sleep at a decent hour.

It wasn’t until the second semester that I realized I was about as big of a homebody as there can be. I found it was necessary to talk to my family every day. Skype became an everyday occurrence.

Everyone gets homesick once and awhile. It is just a part of growing up. But most people who are at school have the ability to go home whenever they feel like they need a weekend at home. Even for those who live in Minnesota or Illinois, home is just a few hours away. For me, though, I don’t have that choice; unless of course I feel like driving 20 hours.

I was talking to a friend from home, and she lives just two hours away from her house. Last week she felt like she wanted to sleep in her own bed so she drove home and spent two days at home, then went back to school right after. I was so jealous because some days I would do anything to just go home and spend a day with my family. But instead I rarely go home at all.

I have gone home a total of 10 times since the beginning of my freshman year, and I’m a super senior.

I never knew how big of a homebody I was till I moved 965 miles away. It has certainly showed me how great of a family I have and how much they mean to me. My parents have come to visit me at least two times each, and I know that there are not a lot of parents who would give up their time and money just to come see their daughter. I am so grateful to have them in my life.

I know my decision to go to school so far away has been hard for them especially with my tendency to be a klutz and the many accidents I have had since coming to school, some of these including three concussions, extensive ankle sprains and bouts with a boot and crutches and the unfortunate occurrence of losing my front teeth and many hospital visits.

Living far away, homesick or not, has allowed me to grow and become a stronger person so it has been for the better. To be honest, Stevnes Point has indeed brought many challenges into my life that maybe would not have been there if I stayed in New York for college. However, I know that all these challenges have made me a stronger person.

I know I am not the only person who is from out of state and had homesickness in college. If you are going through it, or know someone who is experiencing it, just be strong because at the end of the road there is light and hopefully all the struggles you go through in college will help you form into a better person.

So keep that chin up, buttercup. I love Stevens Point and whether you’re 965 miles away from home like me or 20 miles away, I hope it has as great an effect on you as it did me.

Always a Pointer,

Chandler Jade Mellon

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