Today’s story is from Devon Graf, a graduating senior communications studies major self-distancing from her house in Camden County, NJ. Devon joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Enchanted Celebrations was cut short prematurely due to COVID-19 affecting business.
As an on-campus student for all four years at Rowan University, I got to experience more than I could ask for. Yet … I only live 20 minutes away. But why? Why didn’t I chose a university hours away? Sometimes I wish I did, but nothing beats surprising your family any time of the day whenever you please.
It was a difficult decision. I wanted to get out of my hometown more than ever. I looked at University of Florida, University of Arizona, and even Coastal Carolina. I was set on having a marine biology degree, but my senior year of high school … it just wasn’t me. Things change.
I toured Rowan University and fell in love. I was undecided for a major, and they offered an “exploratory studies” major, I had my heart set. So I applied, and I got in! It was so exciting for me.
I found my freshman year roommate, and we were assigned Holly Pointe — which was awesome as a freshman, it was the newest dorm on campus.
I started my freshman year only 20 minutes away from home, and boy, did it have its benefits. If I needed one thing, I could call my mom. If my roommate or my friend needed anything, I could help them. Whether it be snacks, laundry, whatever, my house was right there. It was nice, I appreciated it.
Not only were the essentials quickly available, but my friend group was, too. Everyone says don’t mix your college friends with your hometown friends, but that was the BEST! We all had so many things in common, it was like an extended friend group. I enjoyed the fact my “college friends” acquired a relationship with my hometown friends. I got the best of both worlds.
I also loved the fact if anything were to happen to me on campus, it wouldn’t take a parent to have to get a plane ticket to come to me. It was a quick drive. Thankfully, I have never experienced anything where such a thing would happen. But, it was nice to know my mom was right around the corner.
Another benefit: home cooked meals!!! Sunday dinners are amazing, at home, not the café. By living close to home and I was feeling like a nice home cooked meal, I could have it! Even the fact my mom wouldn’t have to travel far to drop me off some left overs. Even now as a senior, I’m extremely grateful for her home cooked chicken cutlets. YUM!
Another thing I found very beneficial in my four years of college living close to home is that sometimes it’s nice to just get away. Sometimes school work, friend groups, the whole environment gets very stressful. Being home is a great way to alleviate that stress. Even if it’s one night or a whole weekend.
Not only is it just home cooked meals, friends, and a get away, but traveling. A lot of friends I know have to get on a plane to go home. Plane travel = money. Money and limited options to go home. I have a friend who went to University of California and she came home once every 6 months. Even when it comes to driving I couldn’t imagine driving 10+ hours to go home for a weekend or even just having my things sent through mail.
Which brings me to my last benefit. Moving in. I had the best time moving in because I could make multiple trips. I didn’t have to pack a single suitcase and carry on, or load one single car up with my belongings. I could literally take multiple trips in multiple days to bring what I needed or what I forgot. Could you imagine flying a couple hours to your dorm and forgetting something? Shout out to all you students that do, I give you major points.
Here are just a couple screenshots of my mom and I when she couldn’t wait for any chance to come to Rowan to see me.
Whether you want to live close or live far, it’s 100% up to you. There are factors you need to weigh in, but either experience will be worth a life time. College is your time to make the best experience and succeed.
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Story and photography by:
Devon Graf, Senior Communication Studies Major