College is a life phase where we are supposed to acquire academic, professional, and social skills that help us smoothly transition into adulthood. Living away from home during college is the best way to acquire these skills and step out of our comfort zones.
They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone. And all our lives, as we pursue the journey of happiness and self-growth, our comfort zone looms above us, with the temptation of sticking to what we are already familiar with always being strong.
Living away from home was one of the most significant steps that I took to get out of my comfort zone. It reminded me of swimming lessons as a child, where the final rite of passage was being thrown into the deep end of the pool. No amount of practice using a kickboard in the shallow end could prepare you for it. If living in our hometown is the shallow end of the pool, then living with our parents or guardians is our kickboard. We will never willingly choose to part ways with these sources of comfort unless we are compelled to do so. Going away from home for college teaches us life skills like budgeting, managing time, being responsible for our well-being, or even little things like sewing on a button or learning to navigate through the public transport system of a new city. College is the final step that we take before we officially step into the world of adulthood and it is essential that we make the best of it.
Going away from home is, in my opinion, one of the most important coming-of-age experiences. Most of us know the city we were raised in like the back of our hand. We are familiar with its nooks and corners, its special places and its not-so-special places. The kind of familiarity it provides us, along with the comfort of living with one’s parents, is enough to make us complacent. It does not negatively impact our life skills per se, it just takes away the opportunity to try out and experience a lot of things we could have potentially learned.
College life is paradoxically one of the most overrated and underrated life experiences. It is overrated because pop-culture essentially presents it like a three-year-long party that ends with you finding the love of your life. It is underrated because no one ever tells us how very crucial a role it plays in our emotional development and how it helps us transition into adulthood. Living with one’s parents/guardians is one of the most beautiful experiences out there. They go to great lengths to create this world where all our needs are more than adequately met. And it is this very desire of making us comfortable that is dangerous. We never really get the opportunity to create our own space, suitable to our own needs.
Going away for college means living in a new city, making new friends, adjusting to the changes in our surroundings and learning to take care of our physical and mental well-being ourselves. Being absolutely responsible for the choices we make and the lack of adult supervision makes us pull up our socks and finally accept that our life is moving forward and that we are required to adapt to the changes that come with it.
But the changes that living away from home are not just limited to becoming better at “adulting”; it is an emotional metamorphosis that allows us to explore who we truly are. My political beliefs were completely in sync with those of my parents until I started living away from home. Once college began, my perspective on things slowly changed and my faith in my own skills strengthened. As someone who was raised in a protective environment, living away from home meant exploring my own capabilities and discovering qualities and abilities I did not know I possessed.
Living away from home is the exact opposite of how popular culture portrays it to be. It includes learning to change your own sheets, waking up on time for college yourself, and finding out that necessities like shampoo and cereal cost money! It is a luxury of course, but those who have the option of pursuing it should grab it with both hands. It is a life-changing experience that challenges us in the most fundamental way possible, by forcing us out of the comfort of our house; both metaphorically and literally. But as we build a new home for ourselves, we get to learn more about ourselves. This process of self-growth and discovery makes us a better version of ourselves and reaffirms and strengthens our faith in us.
Feature Image Credits- India Today