As an Out of State Student

The first photo I took at Santa Clara when I moved in. From my window! Check out that view.

When I first started applying to college, I knew that I wanted to explore schools outside of Georgia. I applied to 10 schools– 9 of which were out of state. When I started receiving my acceptance letters, I was so excited that I could make my dreams of going to school anywhere in the country a reality!

I decided to go to school in California for three reasons:

1) You can’t beat the weather.

2) There’s so much to do: San Francisco, LA, Yosemite, Big Sur… the options are endless!!!

3) In-n-Out (Enough said.)

Outside of getting sick without mom’s chicken soup and learning how to do my own laundry, one of my biggest worries about going to college so far away from home was how homesick be. I was apprehensive about having few opportunities to go home to visit my family or having a place to go on weekends.

My friends and I before our Christmas floor dinner.

What I love most about Santa Clara is that we are all assigned a Residential Learning Community when we arrive as first-year students, so that when we arrive on campus, we already have a home away from home and a space that is especially ours both in and outside the classroom. My homesickness melted away when my floor ate weekly dinners together in Benson, did yoga in our lounge, created an intramural flag football team, and stressed out over the Critical Thinking and Writing class that we all took together. This unique experience helped me adjust quickly to the fast pace of college by forming meaningful relationships with the people I lived with.

Aside from participating in activities on-campus and within my RLC, I was able to get off-campus by joining our adventure club, Into the Wild, and going on the weekly Sunday hikes that are offered around the Bay Area. Some of my other favorite off-campus memories were when two of my friends and I took the bus down to Santa Cruz and spent the day exploring the downtown area and walking around the Boardwalk, or the other time when some of my floormates and I rented a Zipcar and spent the day exploring South San Francisco. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to use the few opportunities that I would have had to go home spending time with friends and discovering new activities that were around Santa Clara and the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

This is my friend Matthieu, an international student from France!

Since coming to SCU, I have met people with diverse backgrounds from all over the country and the world. My best friend that lived next door to me our first year (Swig 9th floor represent!) was from Kauai. On our floor, some of the hometowns we claimed were Dallas, Chicago, Denver, and Seattle, just to name a few. In California, “in-state” can be considered places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, or anywhere in-between which means that there is no one California identity.

Now in my junior year, having only met two other students from my hometown, I’ve never felt out of place. It is important to remember that no matter where you come from, college is about forming networks, both personal and professional, with those around you. The greatest gift I’ve been awarded by attending SCU is the ability to make connections with people from all walks of life, especially those students who live locally and will have me over for a nice home-cooked meal every once in awhile.

Author: Imani Thompson, Junior, Public Health

#outofstate #studentlife #residencehalls

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