When I first started my college search, my parents begged me to stay in state and stay close to home. Unfortunately for them, I knew I wanted to get out of North Carolina and go somewhere new… but I did not have a clue where. I stumbled across Cumberlands through a Google search, toured, signed to play tennis and continue my education here, and then got hit with the reality that I would be moving five hours away from everything and everyone I had ever known.
Let me assure you, it is not as scary as it may seem! Coming up on my first week of school, I knew I was going to have to put myself in a position to make new friends and get out of my comfort zone. Thankfully, through all of the first week activities geared toward freshmen, I was able to do just that. During Welcome Week, I got plugged into Campus Ministries, Intermural Sports, and ResLife (Residence Life). Since that initial interaction, I have been involved more specifically with the Thursday Night Live team in Campus Ministries and was also able to be in Residence Hall Leadership for two years.
Making all those new friends was great, but what about the people I had previously spent the last 18 years with? I was ready to be in a new place since the day I graduated high school, but I didn’t want to ditch all my friends from back home.
A key way I kept in contact with my friends and family from home was through FaceTime and phone calls. Texting is a great method for keeping up with friends, but nothing means more than hearing their actual voices. I encourage you to make a schedule for those calls to better ensure that you actually do it! A good routine I had was calling friends in between my class changes. That way, I knew I got to catch up with them but also had a deadline on the conversation so it wouldn’t last for multiple hours. (I love conversation, and it’s hard to cut it off sometimes.) Keeping to that schedule and calling consistently for even a few minutes helped me continue those long-distance friendships in a different but healthy way.
The nice thing about going to school far from home is that you definitely learn more about who means a lot to you and who you mean a lot to. The people who choose to stay in contact with you when you are five hours away are the ones you can bank on being there for you for years to come. Know this: your friend circles will change and look different as years go by, and that is entirely okay! Your best friend right now may not be your best friend two years from now, but you can still continue that relationship in refreshing ways that are still healthy and beneficial to your wellbeing.
An encouragement I would give to anyone who is looking to live on campus at Cumberlands and away from home is to continue to put effort into your relationships back home, so you keep those relationships intact! Your effort goes a long way, and it will greatly benefit your time in college. Not everyone will end up living where they go to school, so it is always important to try and keep those relationships at home so you will have people to go back to. Also, do not be afraid to take your college friends home or have your high school friends visit your college! It is a unique experience to intermingle your new friends and your old friends because they each have different stories they’ll be able to share about their friendships with you.
I hope you are excited for your next step into adulthood by coming to college at the Cumberlands! There are so many opportunities for you here that will benefit you for the rest of your life. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, give long distance a chance, and soak up every second you get to spend in Williamsburg! It has been worth it for me, and I believe it will be for you too.