600 miles away from home: Cabrini student values lessons learned at Cabrini

By Lauren Sliva
November 5, 2009

It can take me anywhere from 10 to 12 hours, depending on traffic, construction, and which highway I take, for me to get home.

I get asked the question “Why Cabrini?” a lot, and when I say a lot, it basically means everyone. I chose to go far from home based on a feeling.

It felt like it was a good choice and basically the campus reminded me of wooded Michigan; which led me to experience a life that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Living 600 and some-odd miles doesn’t make it easy to go home on the weekends, or plan fun get-away trips with high school friends or even visit my own family.

Living far from home may be hard but I don’t mind it.

I’ve experienced driving for 12 hours straight in the boring farmland of Pa. praying not to fall asleep.

Also, I have been on a train for 15 hours, telling myself never again, and on a plane by myself for the first time. This was all in about a three month span of being away from home.

Freshman year I had the biggest culture shock of my life. I got to meet New Yorkers and Philly fanatics for the first time.

I got to experience them when they cheer for the Phillies, the Eagles, the Flyers and the Giants, and how loud these fans can be on a “quiet” day. I used to think they were insane.

I was lost. I came to school not knowing where anything was, not knowing anyone at the school or in the area around me, and the person that lived the closest to me lived in the Carolinas. During my first semester I was sure that I was going to transfer and head back to the Midwest.

Through all my confusion, I had learned to take care of myself; I couldn’t spend money on small things or go out to eat because it was a long way home for handouts or food shopping. I literally lived on $5 for the majority of my first year.

Granted, I cried my eyes out a couple of times just wanting to go back to what I was familiar with, which was the laid-back people of Michigan.

However, it was because the trips home were few and far between that I came to appreciate and like Pa. Grand Rapids didn’t have much for me and I was having more fun in Radnor.

I have come to love being far from home. I have grown closer with my family and seem to have learned more about them from being away from them rather than living with them.

I have learned to rely on myself to get things done, even though I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t get help from my parents.

I still see my family during the holidays and I still talk to them, thanks to the internet and my cell-phone. The only difference is that I don’t go home on the weekends or run home when I feel homesick.

My mom always told me, “You have a moment to cry but then you have to suck it up,” because for me to go home is about $200 away, and me living on $5 will only get me a train ticket to the airport.

Living far away is an experience. I know that I will always be a midwest girl, it’s home and will always be home. But I’d rather say that I have lived in the all different parts of the country then say I have only lived in one place and never experienced living with crazy people in a crazy city.

Lauren Sliva

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