My name is Logan Elliott, and I am a graduate student at Missouri State University in the Student Affairs in Higher Education program. I am a Graduate Assistant in the office of New Student and Family Programs and am loving my experience at Missouri State University thus far. As I have reflected on the first couple of months of my graduate program, I have thought back to my first few semesters of my undergraduate experience (which did not take place at Missouri State) and how it was one of the most difficult, yet transformative times of my life. I wanted to write this blog post about some of the truths about leaving for college which oftentimes means leaving some of your closest friends and family.
In particular, the reason why the college transition was so rough for me was due to having to be separated from my twin brother. My twin brother’s name is Lucas, and he is, in all honesty, the best friend I could ever hope to have. In high school, we seemed to be the only people who understood each other. Growing up, Lucas and I certainly played to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Lucas has always been very book smart and introverted, his mind sharp, analytical, and detailed in everything that he does. Social settings are certainly not his strong suit but he is an incredible student. Whereas I am almost completely the opposite. Academics have not always come easily for me, but social settings are where I thrive. I am an extrovert by nature who loves to be involved. Lucas and I had gotten very comfortable being two halves of one whole, but what we hadn’t realized is how detrimental that was for us. We had never challenged ourselves to grow in our weaknesses and could have done a better job of being more independent of each other.
When it came time to choose a place to go to college, he and I decided on two different schools. He wanted to go to a large public school, whereas I felt like a small private institution would be much more my speed. Our college move-in day was the first time in our lives that we were staying in different places. We had lived together our whole lives and never really spent time apart. Needless to say, the first couple weeks were very hard, learning how to live without someone who was close to me. I believe this is how a lot of students feel as they gear up to leave their families and go away to college. What I will say is that through all of the tough transitional moments, I learned how to be independent, started to develop skills in areas that I had never challenged myself in before, and become a much more well-rounded, and educated individual. Some ask if my relationship with my brother has weakened, but in reality, taking time apart, and learning how to operate as adults on our own has only made our brotherhood stronger.
This is one of the reasons why I believe that pushing through those homesick and uncomfortable moments is so integral to a college student’s development. My advice to family members who are sending students off to college is that your student loves and misses you more than you know. But allowing them to navigate this challenging path on their own, while providing support along the way, is going to help them become the very best version of themselves