The following article is written by Marta Berglund, Greater Mankato Growth’s marketing intern. Marta is a junior at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has majors in digital innovation, film and television (DIFT), and communications. She also has minors in French and public relations.
“You know, the city you go to college in doesn’t really matter because you spend so much time on campus anyways.” When my high school best friend’s older brother told me this my senior year of high school, I believed him, but with a grain of salt. Here I was, one of the few people from my high school about to move more than a few hours away from my friends and family. I wanted to believe that making this drastic move would have some impact on my life and finding a job in the future. But at the same time, I wanted the comfort of knowing that no matter the location of my university, I would still be able to find good opportunities, experiences, and eventually employment.
I go to school at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, a lengthy 12 hours from here. Going to college out-of-state has been extremely educational for me, both in and out of the classroom. Before college, I thought I was independent, but I really had no understanding of what that word truly means. With my parents, three siblings, and always some variety of pets at home, I hadn’t ever been truly alone in my life. Moving twelve hours away from everyone I knew meant learning what it’s like to cook meals for one person, find a doctor’s office alone, or network outside of my family’s personal bubble. Being on my own has been exciting, fun, and liberating. However, it’s also been exhausting, terrifying, and a little bit lonely.
I remember one small, but significant instance during my first year when I thought, “Wow, I really have to figure stuff out independently.” Moving isn’t generally fun, and college students do it quite frequently. However, it’s especially difficult for students who come from far out-of-state, and in the case of my friends and me, who don’t have a car. I have a friend from Wisconsin and a friend from South Korea, and since none of us had means to transport all our stuff back home, we decided to rent a storage unit. Figuring out how to condense all our belongings, transport them to our downtown storage unit, which may have been haunted, and gather the money to pay for it proved to be quite the task. Not to mention, none of us had cars. One afternoon, after bringing our final load, the three of us got in a friend’s borrowed car and drove away from the storage unit. We sat in silence on most of the ride home, out of pure exhaustion. As we pulled up to campus, my Wisconsinite friend muttered tiredly, “Adulting is hard.” I agreed and thought about the fact that I would have to do most tasks like this on my own from that point on.
Now, after being half-way done with my college career, I am constantly thinking about my post-graduation plans. Do I want to stay in Cincinnati? Do I want to come back to Minnesota? Do I want to move all the way across the country, or maybe even the world? Don’t get me wrong, I love being independent and having the ability to call my own shots. However, and equally, I love my family and appreciate being near to them. This creates nearly endless possibilities, while also creating a lot of confusion. All of us have experienced this sort of confusion, and in my case, some indecisiveness. However, I have also realized that, no matter where I end up, I will search for the balance of being independent and being surrounded by loved ones that I have had to, not only struggle with, but also appreciate.
I cannot share my ultimate answers on this topic with you today because I have yet to figure them out. But stay tuned; maybe I’ll have an epiphany over the summer. In any case, I encourage you to think about this balance in your own daily lives. In addition, try to gather an appreciation for how your work, learning, and home lives complement each other.