Going out of state brings whirlwind of emotions

Shiva Mirzahaidar, staff writer

Before the school bell rings for the last time, all the goodbyes are said, and every suitcase is packed, seniors may notice the proximity of the beginning of their college career. While this new adventure involves taking on new responsibilities, branching out, and meeting new people, attending a college out of state can introduce different worries and benefits.

Senior Kelly Wilkinson, who is attending the University of Arkansas, took many factors into consideration when picking where to continue her education.

“I chose Arkansas because I have family up there and I had seen the campus, which is easily one of the most beautiful places in the United States,” Wilkinson said. “My parents and I made a million pros and cons lists when I was making my decision.”

Senior Paige Hegedus, who also plans on going to The University of Arkansas, views college to be an opportunity to explore new places and leave her comfort zone.

“I’ll have to make myself really branch out and meet people,” Hegedus said. “[Getting] out of the Katy bubble [is going to be exciting].”

Although many people fear not being able to connect with other students, technological advancements and social media like Facebook help facilitate the transition. Facebook groups allow people to find potential roommates, learn more about the campus from peers, and get to know students from all over the world that will be attending the same university.

Another trial of going out of state involves not being around family and old friends as much as students who remain a reasonable distance from their hometown.

“I won’t be able to go home on a random weekend,” Hegedus said. “I’m a little anxious, but I know it’s the right place for me, so I’ll be okay. My mom and dad are sad to see me go, but are also happy that I am attending my dream school.”

Senior Ariana Sharma is also worried about leaving friends and family, as she pursues her education at Vassar College, a private school located a few hours outside of New York City. Sharma feels confident about her choice to attend Vassar because she believes the best part of a small liberal arts college is that she has a few years before declaring a major.

“I’ll really have to make an effort to stay in touch with everyone when I’m on the other side of the United States, but there’s always Skype and frequent flier miles,” Sharma said. “Besides, part of the thrill of going out of state is not knowing anyone there.”

Senior Kennedy Reid, who is attending the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, shares Hegedus and Sharma’s enthusiasm, and is also finding positive aspects of leaving people close to her, as she looks forward to starting over.

“Since I can remember thinking about choosing a college, I always knew I wanted to go off and do something different rather than just go to the University of Texas (UT) or Texas A&M (A&M) like many of my classmates, even though those are two really great schools,” Reid said. “To me it’s exciting moving to a place where I know hardly anyone and can have a fresh start.”

Sharma is also looking forward to a new beginning, as she is anticipating being surrounded by people that can show her different perspectives on life outside of Katy.

“Although staying in state has its benefits, I wanted to go out of state to see what a different part of [America] is like, and to meet people with different backgrounds,” Sharma said. “I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life, and part of me just wants to go somewhere new for the experience.”

Seniors who will be studying outside of Texas are looking forward to new undertakings, as they will be tasked with exploring and adapting to a new environment. Senior Cherisse Onuigbo, who is going to Washington University in St. Louis.

“I wanted to experience new scenery and not be surrounded by the same people,” Onuigbo said. “Basically take my independence one step further.”

Onuigbo and Reid both share this viewpoint, considering they both view themselves as independent individuals.

“I’ve always been pretty independent and keen on doing my own thing,” Reid said. “I can’t wait to go on an adventure and live somewhere new.”

Hegedus is also looking forward to the newfound freedom, as she is anticipating the many thrilling adventures to come .

“I’m ready to go to college,” Hegedus said. “[I just want to] begin [this] new chapter in my life.”