Home Away from Home

Home Away from Home

Hello, my name is Gillian Davis and I am one of the current interns here at Art Spark Texas! I have been helping to work on different social media platforms and have also helped with the Mobile Art Program for seniors.

Home Away from Home

By Gillian Davis
photo of Gillian in red dress holding a yellow balloonHaving been raised in Texas my entire life, going to college (Bennington College in Vermont) over a thousand miles away from everything I have ever known was a bit daunting. The weeks leading up to my “moving” day were nerve-wracking, and the drive itself was even worse. I was constantly worrying about whether I had managed to pack enough, if I would end up hating school, if I would be lonely without my friends and family — all the general anxieties that come with going to college amplified by the long distance between school and home. The whole three-day drive to Vermont I remember asking myself: Why am I doing this?

After two weeks on campus, I realized I was going to be okay. I had already found my niche and was interacting with people who were unlike anybody I had met before. Half way through the semester, though, I found myself once again thinking on the same question that had plagued me just a few months prior: Why here?

As I mentioned, I was born and raised in Texas, but not in some bustling city like Dallas or Austin. My graduating class had only 86 people. After learning that, it’s not hard to visualize just how small my life felt. All of my friends were going to the same four colleges, all of which were less than a day’s drive from where we had all grown up. As much as I loved my friends, I knew that I wanted to see more of the world than what Texas could offer.

Going to college across the country has allowed me to open up in new ways, as if I have shed my old skin and grown comfortably into a new set of cells. I’m learning more about myself and the world around me. Sure, the college experience is a universal one, but allowing myself to tackle new challenges and overcome obstacles without the ability to fall back on childhood familiarity has allowed me to stand my ground more firmly, and made my new skin grow back that much thicker. I was terrified that being so far from home would make me feel isolated and small, but I have instead grown so much more as a person than I thought possible.

This opportunity has been amazing for me so far. This time last year I was afraid that I would have to stay close to home, feeling shut in and claustrophobic. I am so grateful that things worked out in such a way that I get to experience life without feeling held back (though there are obviously some restrictions currently in place). It’s only been a few months, but I’m starting to see the benefits in allowing myself to take such a huge chance, and I cannot wait to see what else I pick up during the rest of my college experience away from home.

Gillian Davis is a currently a freshman studying literature and art history at Bennington College.

 

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