What does it mean to be away from home? I had no idea what it would feel like, and I never really thought about it too much.
Last year was my first year at the University of Denver. I was so happy to see new faces and be in a new environment, for my own sake of change. As a first year I was so put off by the fact that I barely saw my parent and the rest of my family for months on end. Just to preface, I do understand that Santa Fe is approximately six hours away (If you’re driving the exact speed as the speed limit). Traveling as a college student is hard though, especially since most of the time you have as a college student is consumed by loads of work, studying, and group projects.
The first thing I’ve learned is FAMILY IS IMPORTANT. Keeping in contact with loved ones while adjusting to a new city is the key to feeling less homesick and lost. Sometimes I would feel like I didn’t know what I was doing, or even just stressed out about different situations, but I learned that family members can usually help guide you towards the right direction and possible solutions. They also bring in a different prospective towards different standpoints and offer very valuable advice based off of their experience. I found that talking and FaceTiming them was essential for my well being and I would get the best guidance as to how to be a successful college student and how to navigate my way through living in a new state. All in all don’t forget where you came from and always thank family members for being so supportive!
The second thing is DON’T GET OVERWHELMED when moving to a new city. A new area can be so scary and overwhelming, especially when trying to figure out where the nearest grocery stores, gas stations, and malls are at. I made the mistake of getting so overwhelmed that I forgot to take a second and just enjoy the area and admire all the different things that I wasn’t used to seeing. A pro tip to help with being overwhelmed is to just take the time to drive around and explore, so that it’s easier to feel more comfortable being somewhere new. The more that is explored, the better (especially so that when family comes to visit, it’ll be easier to know where to go).
The third thing is CHERISH TRADITIONAL HOMETOWN FOOD. I made the mistake of taking the wonderful traditional New Mexican food for granted. When I moved to Denver, I forgot that green chile is basically nonexistent. To my surprise there are a lot more of chain restaurants rather than local restaurants in Denver. Going back home to Santa Fe I get reminded about how delicious and different the food is. Some of my favorites are enchiladas, frito pies, and the stuffed sopapillas (yum). Most people think they know what a good breakfast burrito is, but if they haven’t been to Tomasita’s or Saveur in Santa Fe, then they probably haven’t actually had a GOOD burrito. It’s always a treat to be home for college breaks to taste the wonderful food that I grew up with, and once got tired of because I ate it so much, now I miss it.. Sigh.
The fourth thing is GET USED TO THE TRAFFIC! Anyone who visits Santa Fe or who is from a small city in general, knows that traffic isn’t a problem. It usually takes a very short amount of time to get from point A to point B. In Denver and other big cities, that’s not the case. I learned that almost every hour is rush hour in Denver. It’s best to leave half an hour earlier to be right on time and did I mention, Denver is usually under construction most of the year (which doesn’t help with the traffic problem). It could also be very nerve racking to deal with very fast drivers, in the big city everyone has places to be so it can be a lot of pressure when driving and not knowing where to go. It’ll take a bit of adjusting, but after a while driving in the city will become a piece of cake.
Lastly, MAKING FRIENDS IS IMPORTANT! What helps get anyone through moving to a new place, or transitioning to college is being open to making friends with anyone! With that being said, It’s smart to make a few really close friends first, then move onto making friends and meeting people who have the same hobbies, people from work or school, people who you want to learn from, even teachers or your neighbors! Life is a learning experience, and learning usually comes from other people’s wisdom.
All in all being scared of moving to a new place is a normal feeling. It can be so thrilling but at the same time weird to move away from a place you knew for so long. The experience will be worth it and, like I have noticed, a new found respect for the place you once called home will be eminent.