I Left Alaska for New York City

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Moving out of your childhood home and shipping off to a new city far, far away is one of the most exciting and perhaps nerve-wracking parts of going to college. Sometimes it’s tough making new friends, adjusting to a different state’s culture and missing hometown friends. However, once you climb the seemingly endless hill of homesickness, the strength that is built and the bonds you make in college will never be broken.

I grew up on an isolated island off the coast of Alaska in a town with one grocery store, one gas station and four square miles of inhabited land.  Before attending Hofstra University in New York, I had never lived in a city with big buildings, let alone the Big Apple.

If you think you are finding it difficult to be miles away from the place you knew so well, just know that I went from a world of hunting and fishing to one of subways and stilettos…and I survived.

I am from Ketchikan, Alaska, the fourth biggest city in one of the country’s least populated states. Although Alaska is almost two and a half times the size of Texas, only about 2 percent of the land is actually inhabited. During my childhood, my hobbies included hiking, boating and avoiding grizzly bear attacks.

After 18 years of living the ultimate small town life, I was itching to get out of Alaska and made the big decision to move to the most populated city in the U.S.: New York City.

Like millions of others who struggle with leaving home for school, the shock of city and college life hit me hard. For the first time in my life I felt shy and completely insecure. I would call my parents and cry to them to let me come home, but they gave me tough love and told me to stick it out.

Because I stuck it out at my university despite freshmen year hardships, I have since had amazing opportunities that would be nearly impossible in my hometown. I have interned for Fox News twice – first for the O’Reilly Factor then for America Live with Megyn Kelly – and had a paid internship with ABC News’ World News with Diane Sawyer.

In the end coming to Hofstra was one of the best decisions I ever could have made because the opportunities I’ve had here have been truly amazing. Whether your university is blocks from home or across the country, freshman year can be a hard adjustment for anyone. However, with a little endurance and a lot of self-confidence, the benefits of going to your dream location will outweigh those brief moments of loneliness. 

No matter where I am, Alaska will always be in my heart, but in the end I feel like I am a better and stronger person because I did endure the hard parts of moving far away.  I guess it's like when Frank Sinatra said, "If I can make it here, I'll make it anywhere!"

Photo: bdearth at flickr.com

College Magazine Staff

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