Leaving home my first year definitely wasn’t easy. Before college, I had only been away from home for maybe a few weeks, a month tops. Dartmouth is only 2 hours away from Lynn, MA (where I grew up), and though in comparison to some of my friends here who were coming from places like California or were international, the distance itself seemed like nothing. However, to me, it definitely had an impact. I think it was a combination of imposter syndrome — feeling like I didn’t belong here and didn’t deserve to take up space here — and home sickness because I was extremely close to my family and my mom especially. My first year was tough because I had to balance these personal and internal struggles along with the academic rigor of Dartmouth.

Since I was only 2 hours away from home, my first year I went home to visit my mom almost a few times in the term, typically whenever I felt like I needed a reminder of home and what I was fighting for: for myself but also to make my family proud. Of course, this was a privilege to be able to go home whenever I felt like I needed it because I wasn’t too far from home and also I would save up money from my job in order to purchase the bus ticket. Throughout my first year and as I grew more accustomed to campus life, I went home less and less. Over the summers, I have gone home but also have spent that time working so it wasn’t necessarily just spending time with my family. Though it has been hard to be away from home, I definitely have enjoyed the times with my friends here and also the opportunities of growth. Also, I’m so grateful for my mom and my family who have supported my desires of traveling and my need for personal growth and though I know moving to Houston next month for a new job will be another difficult transition, I am glad to have a supportive family and I can’t wait to explore the area! All this to say that whether you stay close to home or go really far away, know that you aren’t alone if you’re feeling homesick and that challenging moments lead to beautiful growth! <3