When I was touring colleges, I had a hard rule—No schools within an hour of my house. My Mom had this idea that Lafayette College was the perfect school for me. It has a beautiful campus, it is medium sized, it is suburban, yada, yada, but the one hitch was that it is 15 minutes away from my house. I knew that if I went there, or anywhere else nearby, I would feel like I could come home at any time, and that would make it harder for me to immerse myself in the college experience, make new friends, and feel at home. And so, much to my Mom’s disappointment, I did not choose Lafayette College, or any of the other close schools.
Tufts is about 5 hours from my door on a good traffic day, 8 hours if I am not so lucky. While that seems really far, I think there are a lot of perks to being about 5 hours away from home.
1: I can drive to school and bring everything I want easily.
I never considered schools I would have to fly to, so I didn’t think about the burden of moving halfway across the country (or even the world!) each year. For students who live a flight away, they often have to pay to put their belongings in storage, or store them in a relative's basement. All I have to do is shove as much as I can in the trunk of my car, and trust me, I can fit a lot. In fact, once I run out of room in the trunk, I have a bag that I strap to the back of the car to hold my excess bins and supplies.
2: I am in the same time zone as my parents.
This may not seem big, but until you go to college, you can’t understand how many times you call your parents with a simple “how much detergent do you think I should put in a half load of laundry,” or “did you see my new e-bill on SIS?” I already sometimes forget that my parents go to bed early and start dialing their numbers at midnight, before realizing that they are asleep, so imagine trying to call your parents, but always being a few hours ahead or behind. Coordinating schedules can be confusing!
3: I can go home on a whim (almost).
For students who live a flight away, it can be chaotic to book a flight home on a whim. When we got sent home last year, many students went into near panic trying to get flights at a reasonable time, for a reasonable price. This year, I decided to go home for Thanksgiving, and my parents were able to drive up that weekend, getting me relatively easily.
4: My parents can visit, but not too much.
Each semester, my parents come up to visit one time—once for Parents’ Weekend in October and once for Presidents’ Day Weekend in February. This frequency is perfect, because I get to see my parents right when I am feeling homesick, but I don’t rely on seeing them every weekend. I can also introduce them to my friends and show them how I live on campus, which is something they definitely enjoy, but their visits do not detract from my college experience.
Overall, I think there are many perks to living somewhat close, but not too close, to your college. It is nice to know that in an emergency, my parents can get to me within half a day, but also nice to know that I am independent. My advice this week is to think about what I said, and decide how much distance matters to you. Are you someone who wants to be able to go home during the semester and visit your family, or are you ready to pack light and stay at school for the whole semester? I know many people who thrive no matter how far they are from home, so it all depends what you prefer. And, if Tufts is that perfect distance for you, our admissions counselors will be thrilled to read your application in Bendetson Hall, featured above!