By Isa Perez
Unlike most people, where I would attend college was already predetermined before I was even born. My grandfather put me onto the Florida Prepaid plan and said I would never leave. I would attend Florida International University and live at home in Miami. Little did he know his granddaughter would grow up to be determined and independent.
I never really grew up with a dream of going away for college, but the more I saw how normal it was, the more I wanted it for myself. As soon as the summer before senior year came around, I applied to multiple schools and hoped for the best.
Months later I came home to my grandfather sitting at the end of our dining room table with an acceptance letter from a university in New York City — he was crushed. By this point I had gotten accepted to multiple out of state universities and three Florida schools. I fought and fought for an opportunity to get away from home until we came to an agreement, I had to pick from my three Florida schools. I was ecstatic.
I am proud to say that after four years I am graduating the University of Florida in May. If you ask my grandfather now, he’d say he couldn’t image me going anywhere else. I truly believe going away to college taught me a lot, so here’s what it could teach you.
Independence comes with being an only child, but nothing compares to the shock you’re hit with when you live alone. I survived off of microwavable meals my first year, which lead me to the infamous freshman 15. By my second year I accomplished meal prep, laundry and cleaning in less than three hours. Practice really does make perfect, my friends.
How does a college student accomplish going to class all day, having homework, eating, sleeping and breathing in one day? Time management. While being busy sounds stressful, it actually gives you the opportunity to learn how to accomplish a lot in one day. If you want to pass your classes, to-do lists and agendas will become your best friend.
Life gets rough when you have to spend your own money. Even if it’s not your own money, swiping a credit card gets a lot harder when mom or dad aren’t doing it. My first two years I was being supported, so eating out was a once a week thing. Now, I only use my money when I absolutely have to. Make a budgeting plan and stick to it, but always leave room to treat yo self.
Being an only child may have taught me independence, but it didn’t teach me to share. I never had to share food or space, so I struggled when one roommate would want to have some of my leftover pasta or when I had to be quiet watching TV while my roommate studied. You may not realize it, but living with others you’re not 100 percent comfortable with teaches you self-awareness.
Lastly, I learned to appreciate more than ever. I appreciate my mom for letting me go away, my grandfather for being the reason I’m not graduating with loans, my friends for motivating me through college and lastly, Miami for being my home.
Going away for college has taught me all of this and more. I’m so happy that I fought for what I wanted and get to graduate from one of the best universities in the country!