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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Escaping hometown comforts brings personal growth

Cars drive down Estes Drive as the sun sets on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.

A few weeks ago, I returned home to celebrate the Lunar New Year with my family. I had a good time seeing them and being in my hometown again after being away for nearly a month. However, I also realized a lot changed when I returned home — and not in a good way.

I had a discussion with a friend about feeling stagnant at home, whether that be in your academics or personal life.

Looking back at Winter Break, or even the summer, I’ve started to realize that a lot of the personal growth I’ve made at college, like being more outgoing, being more productive and having a vibrant social life, dissipated whenever I came home. 

I became lazier, started eating more unhealthy food and became content with just staying in my room all day. It reminded me of my time in high school.

The fact that these old habits return whenever I’m back home from college isn’t unique to me, and some other UNC students share a similar sentiment.

“My motivation to do schoolwork is less at home, and that is just a product of the environment,” sophomore Ryan Richardson said. “I can get work done but there are more distractions, and the bed or couch are never too far away, versus when I am at a library at UNC.”

Richardson said being at college offers a lot more versus being at home, which can help keep you active.

“There is so much to do in college from going to sporting events, hanging out with friends, playing in sports and, of course, learning,” Richardson said.

Likewise, junior Amelia Buck also believes that the familiarity of home can become too comforting.

“Home is an escape, but it can also morph into a safety net that I consistently have to break free from,” Buck said.

Furthermore, the busyness of college can help students feel like they have a purpose, whether that be course work, a job or maintaining a healthy social life.

“I do love my periods of escape, but I also love being busy, so my eagerness to return is always an eagerness to escape boredom — something never found on a college campus,” Buck said. 

Coming to college has been a great experience for me. It can be hard to believe this when you’re overwhelmed by midterms or have endless pages of reading to do, making college feel stressful. But I’ve grown so much since my first day on campus.

All of the new people I’ve met and the things I’ve learned — inside and outside the classroom — have shaped me into someone my high school self would be proud of. 

Therefore, I’m writing this as a reminder to both current and incoming college students that even though you might miss being at home and close to your family and friends, it is necessary for you to leave those comforts behind, go out into the world and explore — whether that be at college or beyond.

Only by experiencing new things can you truly grow and become more mature as you’ll gain a new perspective on the world and even yourself. Change won’t happen if you stay in the same place.


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