If you are like me, Portales, New Mexico, is not where you grew up, or even close to where you grew up. Portales is about 1,310 miles away from my hometown of Sacramento, California, where all my family and friends are located. For me, my friends are like family and my family are my best friends, so leaving them was one of the toughest things I have ever done.
I could probably have replenished the most severe of droughts with all of the tears that I cried. And that is okay. I allowed myself to ugly cry when I said goodbye, people were probably really startled by me in the airport, but once I hit security, it was time to change my perspective and consider how fortunate I am to have gotten into a graduate program and that I am in a position in life to be able to uproot my life to go take advantage of this opportunity.
Once I arrived in Portales, I made a point of making my living area as "homey" as possible, decorating the walls and my desk with all the photos of my most important people. The most crucial next step was to make friends so I wasn't so isolated. It makes it so much easier to be away from all you know when you are doing it with other people that understand.
I was extremely fortunate because I moved in with three girls that were all far away from home, in the same position as I was. We have become our own little "framily" (friends that are like family), and we provide each other with as much support as possible.
Moving away from all you know can be such a scary experience, but it always makes you grow as an individual. I have learned how independent I truly can be, which I think is pretty cool. Sometimes you grow dependent on the normalcy of your routine and moving to a place that you know nothing about, by yourself, can test you and remind you of what is truly important to you.
It has certainly been tough, and I miss my people like crazy, but I have learned so much about myself. I have also had the amazing opportunity of meeting people that are very different from those I know and have met in California. There is a difference in vulgarity, politeness and overall kindness to strangers.
A personal experience I have noticed moving to such a small, kind town, is that everybody waves and smiles at you. In California, at least where I am from, people just don't do that. It was weird to me when I first moved here and I would respond with a really grouchy face and then I realized, "Oh my gosh! I am being so rude, I need to get it together!" And now I will wave back like a normal person.
I have realized, that what people say really is true: It does get easier with time. And we are so lucky to live in a time where FaceTime and Snapchat are so readily available. With these advances in technology, it almost feels like my people are here with me after all. It has made it much easier to focus on school, which is what I am here to do.
Moving was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I firmly believe that every situation can be as good as you make it. It is important to remember you are capable of anything and you are here to better yourself, so get to it!