should I stay or should i go?

Emily Meyer - January 18th 2021 - 3 min read

What’s up young minds!

If you’re considering post-secondary in a city away from ‘home,’ this post is for you!

I went to high school in small-town Saskatchewan and made the leap over to Toronto for my first year of university. I packed my most necessary belongings into two large suitcases and opted for a dorm room in the heart of the largest city in Canada. I went from a town of two thousand to a city of two million overnight.

Throughout high school, I knew that I wanted to attend university far away from my childhood home. I knew that I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be if I stayed. Maybe some of you young minds can relate to that feeling. I didn’t see moving away as an option but a necessity. I felt overwhelmingly compelled to explore new places, meet new people and take the highspeed train out of my comfort zone. However, that is not to say I wasn’t scared. There’s nothing comforting about moving away from everyone you’ve grown up with and starting new. I had to make new friends and adjust to a new city, all while beginning university and experiencing an academic calibre that was everything but familiar.

By the time my first semester came to an end, and I was heading home for the holidays, I was mentally and physically exhausted. It had taken everything out of me to commit myself to academics and build a social circle of support, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I had grown more as a person in those first four months than in the previous four years combined. I learned how to navigate highs and lows, how to challenge myself and bounce back when I reached my limits. I learned how to learn in a university setting and prioritize personal, academic and social needs. I learned how important it is to be passionate about your field of study, how to listen to myself and how to ask for help when I needed it. I also learned how to sneak into frat parties, live independently, combine cafeteria foods to make them palatable, support my friends, ride the subway, and speed walk without looking like an idiot! Through it all, I know that I made the right choice in going to post-secondary in a different city.

So how do you know if going to school in a different city is for you?

YOU are the only person that can answer this question because the answer is different for everybody. While moving away from home is not easy, it is extremely rewarding. Not everybody will be ready to start anew directly out of high school, which is perfectly ok. You can take so many different paths after you graduate, and almost none of them are wrong.

If you think you want to go to post-secondary school away from home, but you’re not certain, you could:

+ Attend your local university for a year and then transfer to a different school

+ Attend your local university and take a couple of semesters abroad

+ Attend school in a different city right out of high school and transfer back if it’s not for you

+ Take online classes and live in a different city every year.

The options are endless, and you are always free to change your mind at any point! Here is a handy quiz if you are considering post-secondary away from home:

True/False: I am certain my current friends are going to be by my side 20 years from now

True/False: I feel my community and city share the same values as me

True/False: My local university fulfills my academic needs

True/False: I know of at least a few people around me who are living the life I want to live

True/False: Student loans and/or financial hardships cause extreme stress to my well-being

If you answered 3 or more statements as false, going to post-secondary in a different city might be for you!

If you answered 2 or less statements as false, you’re sure to thrive at your local post-secondary institution!

Please remember that this quiz is not the be-all-end-all for your post-secondary considerations; please use your unique perspective to determine your suitability to post-secondary away from home!