Stepping Out of State and Into the Future

AUBURN, Ala. – Transitioning from out-of-state into college can be daunting for anyone; even the most confident people have moments of uncertainty as they start the most important part of their education. This education is more than just learning from textbooks, it is discovering your identity and finding out what you will contribute to society as a young adult.

Rachel’s Story

Rachel Eilers and friends at the Capital Building in Montgomery Ala
Rachel Eilers and friends at the Capitol Building in Montgomery, Ala.

With the inevitable anxiety that comes with beginning the college journey, it is easy to choose a school that you are familiar with, perhaps a school where most of your high school friends are planning to go to; one in your comfort zone.

“I was nervous, as are most freshman, about being at a new school and having to make a whole new group of friends,” said Rachel Eilers, a senior from Tampa, FL. “Going out of state meant that I no longer had any of my high schools friends to fall back on and I wouldn’t be able to drive home whenever I got homesick.”

The percentage of Auburn students from other states around the country hovers at around 40 percent so students from other states will not have a hard time meeting students with similar experiences. Choosing to embrace a different environment out of state can make all the difference in a college experience.

Rachel Eilers and her Pi Chi group
Rachel Eilers and her Pi Chi group

“I doubted my ability to make connections and immerse myself in the university and its various involvement opportunities because I had a fear of being an outsider,” said Eilers. “All those doubts were put to rest after I went through sorority recruitment and immediately made friends with the girls in my dorm… I held leadership positions with large campus organizations such as The Big Event and SGA Lobby Board. I am also very involved in the Honors College and am currently an Honors Ambassador.”

A new setting with entirely new people can reveal involvement opportunities that would have never been available otherwise.

“Going out of state definitely gave me a different perspective on how to approach certain tasks. I felt it gave me an advantage because, for example, in my position on Lobby Board I was able to use tactics from experience in local government in Tampa to help with initiatives with the legislature here in Alabama,” said Eilers. “With Pi Chi I was able to know the struggle of being from out of state and how I could better relate to my PNM’s who were dealing with some of the same experiences I did.”

Staying in state is undeniably the best decision for some people, but it is not the only decision for every student. Taking the plunge to live somewhere different with an entirely new group of people can be terrifying, but it can be equally as rewarding.

“I would never have had such a great college experience if I decided to take the safe route and stay in state,” said Eilers. “Going out of state was probably the best decision I have made thus far.”

Making the choice to leave the in-state comfort zone can help students develop into independent and confident leaders and prepare them to deal with the professional hurdles that they will face in the future. You’re not from Alabama? Don’t write off going out of state and considering Auburn University, it just might be the best decision you make.

At the end of the day, life is about taking risks and trying new things. What better time to do that than when starting college?

(Photo: Rachel Eilers)

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