HAPPY ALMOST-THANKSGIVING BLOGOSPHERE! I hope you’re all feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the amount of face-stuffing that tomorrow brings. I know I am.
Over the past couple of days, I’ve watched my friends and housemates pack up little carry-ons and jet off to their hometowns, more than excited to eat some Mother-made food and rekindle relationships with their own beds. Meanwhile, I stuffed my dirty clothes into a laundry bag (note: not a garbage bag, I’m classier than that), hopped into my mother’s adorable new car, and listened to the Broadway Showstoppers Pandora station for the twenty-five minutes it took to reach my hometown: Towson, Maryland.
Before my application process had even truly begun, I had completely written off attending a Maryland college. I was sure that I needed to put some distance between me and home, sure that I wanted to start over in an unfamiliar place, miles and miles from my parents and the remnants of my high school days. And that mindset was certainly valid. I know that there is something wonderfully freeing about opening the next chapter of your life in a brand new place.
But if I had not decided to abandon that mindset, I would have missed out on the perfect future that was sitting right in my backyard. I was so narrow-minded that I didn’t even tour Hopkins until the December of my senior year, weeks from the application deadline. I would have never discovered my dream school. I would never have felt the joy of my acceptance email/letter. And trust me, there isn’t anything equal to that special brand of joy.
So this blog is for you Maryland students who think that you need to spread your wings and fly far away from home in order to find yourselves. And maybe you do. Or maybe what you need is right here at Hopkins. But I understand your reservations. So I’ve compiled a list of reasons why choosing a university near your hometown is secretly the best ever.
1) It still feels new: Even though I’m less than half an hour from my own front door, Hopkins feels light years away from my old life. It’s still a fresh start; this is going to be one of the biggest changes you could ever imagine, regardless of distance. I feel like I’m in a brand new place, living on my own and being fully accountable for the first time. It’s scary. It’s awesome.
2) You know the city: Baltimore is an incredible place, especially if you know where to go and how to get there. Being familiar with my surroundings has added another positive layer to my transition, because I feel like I have one less thing to master. But even though it’s nice to already have my favorite cafes and restaurants all mapped out, Baltimore is a big enough city that I still frequently make new and wonderful discoveries.
3) Dear old Mom and Dad: Okay, so this is probably your biggest incentive to get miles away from your hometown. You’re worried that being close to home will give your parents a stellar opportunity to encroach on your college experience in stereotypical “HoverMom” fashion. But, in my personal experience, having my parents a mere twenty-five minutes away has been one of the best parts of going to a university in Baltimore. They’re only a phone call away if I need more food (there are still cartons of homemade mac n’ cheese in my mini fridge), a heavier coat, or even a trip to the doctor’s office (if you’re forever sick like I am). I’m close to two people who will always be in my corner, which is a priceless commodity when everything around you is changing.
4) Pet Visits: Nothing makes me happier than seeing my dogs, so they’re reason enough to stay close to home. Psh, no I didn’t just include this to show off my darling puppy. (Though she is kind of perfection, isn’t she?)
So don’t write off Hopkins just because it’s sitting in the middle of your hometown! I promise there’s nothing better than discovering that your dream school is right around the corner.