Going to school far away from home has a lot of pros and cons. Going to school near home can have a lot of pros and cons, too. At Tufts, a university with lots of international students but also a huge population from right here in Massachusetts, it's easy to see the upside and downside of the location. Just like any realtor will tell you (or at least I assume this is what they tell you? I'm 20 so I've never been house hunting?) it's all about "Location, location, location". Being from Virginia, I'm farther away from home than a lot of people here, but luckily I'm still close enough to be able to fly home for Thanksgiving break. I sometimes get jealous of people from Connecticut, what I believe is the perfect distance from school- their parents (probably) won't show up at their dorm unannounced, but they're close enough to go home for a weekend if they need to. Live any closer than that, and you're also lucky- you can go home to do laundry and if you leave something at home, it's easy to go back and get it. Live farther away than Connecticut? You're also pretty lucky. Since going to college, I've felt myself become much more self-sufficient, independent, and confident since I know I don't have my parents to fall back on if I screw up.
But what if something happens? What happens when you get sick and you can't go sleep on the downstairs couch with your dogs all day? What happens if you have a family emergency and you can't be with your family when they need you? There can be worries that come along with being far away from home, and even after all of the wonderful things that I've experienced and gained from living 11+ hours from home, there's still a guilt that I feel about not being able to always be there. Not only for the bad stuff, but also for the celebrations. Birthdays, promotions, anniversaries; I'm not there for those either. There's no way to sugarcoat it: it sucks. It really does. There's a wonderfully supportive community on campus, but I'll admit it, sometimes I wish Tufts were a little closer to home (and not just because the temperature never drops below zero at home).
But if I'm going to limit my experiences, or the experiences of those around me to the times when I know nothing bad can go wrong at home, then I'd never be here. The point is, you never get to know when something could happen, because google calendar doesn't send you an alert to say "Hey Jane, at 8:47 pm tonight, you should be home". It's 2016 people, that should really be a technology we have by now.
Bad things happen, good things happen, and yes, you might miss them. But imagine how much we'd all miss if we just sat around at home all day, worrying that tragedy might strike and we wouldn't be there. When NASA gets more funding and expands outside of aeronautics to invent a future-predicting calendar, I don't think I'll be investing in it (this is after they sell it to Apple, who makes it into a ridiculously overpriced iPhone app, I'm assuming), because there is always going to be something that you could miss, and if I'm at home, I could potentially be missing something back at school. It's a terrible game to play: driving yourself crazy with guilt when it's impossible to be everywhere at once.
"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on" -Robert Frost. Before this gets into super-corny territory, I'd just like to agree with the baller formerly known as Bobby Frost. Frost, one of America's most well-known poets and four time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, was largely unknown for the majority of his writing career, not to mention struggling with different illnesses and deaths in his family. But then he wrote "The Road Not Taken". You probably recognize this title because it is one of Frost's most famous poems, and you were probably forced to read it in middle or high school along with Oedipus Rex and Hamlet (speaking of family problems…). Frost lead a hard life, he was away from home a lot, he worked hard for a long time without seeing any recognition for that work, and yet he kept going, and now middle-schoolers all around the country recognize and/or resent him for being forced to read his work and probably write short paragraphs on the metaphors he used.
On a more serious note, Frost had it right when he said that life "goes on". It keeps moving and so do we. I'm trying to be the best supportive family member I can be from all the way up north, and my parents are being the best family members from Virginia. We both miss out on things, but in the end, I know it will all work out. Location was a big factor for me when choosing a college, and I can feel confident in saying that I know I made the right choice. Location is something that we all need to consider, and think about beyond just "Is the campus close to a CVS?". So, while my parents will never show up unannounced, I'll never get to go home in a spur-of-the-moment decision. Celebration and commiseration are, by definition, done with others. As excited as I always am to return home to my family, I'm thankful to have my home away from home to be with me, too.