Yesterday, while driving to work, my co-worker and I were talking about looking for internships in other cities. She’s lived in Florida her entire life, and she’s ready for her next adventure.

When I was 17, I packed up everything I owned into my boxes, loaded up my car and my grandparents car, and drove from Michigan to Florida.

While growing up in Michigan was great, when it came time to pick a college, I decided to look outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to challenge myself and try something new. I wanted to experience new things and open myself up to a new world of possibilities. That was how I ended up at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

I moved down here completely alone. I got three random roommates, and 62,000 new classmates.  I had to learn my way around a new city and discover a whole new community.

At first, it sucked.

Growing up and in high school, I was the biggest homebody. My house was the place every one came to hang out. Every weekend, especially in the summers, I was constantly surrounded by family and friends, even if we weren’t doing anything more than watching tv.

My random roommates by freshman year were great, I probably wouldn’t have made it without their love and support, but it still wasn’t the same. I was unable to find a job my first semester, so I went to class every morning, came back to my room to call my mom or my friends, and then I would cry.

But over time, it got better. I got stronger.

In addition to the things I’ve learned at school and the experiences I have gained professionally, in the last two years, I have learned so much about myself. I’ve learned how to push myself out of my comfort zone, how to fight my own battles, how to be entirely independent.

Moving far away from home, and I mean far away from home, is the greatest learning experience you can ask for. You learn how problem solve in order to get everything you need, and when you figure it out and get the job, you feel such an immense sense of pride.

Some days, it’s still hard. I miss my family and friends more than anything and I wish they could go on this adventure with me, but moving is one of the things that I am most proud of. Every day I spend here in Orlando is another day spent chasing my dream and I am proud of myself for doing this for myself.

Whatever you want to do, do it. There’s only so many tomorrows.



Written by Jazmyn Patterson

Be Silly. Be Honest. Be Kind. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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