I Moved 1,200 Miles From My Parents For College, but They're Still the Closest People in My Life

POPSUGAR Photography | Charisandra Perez
POPSUGAR Photography | Charisandra Perez

Growing up, I wasn't a mama's or daddy's girl . . . I was both! My parents and I have always had a very close bond. From cosleeping until I was around 4 years old to thinking of them as my most loyal friends to this day, I've always felt connected to them in a way most of my friends never seemed to express to me about their parents. After my brother moved out to go to college when I was 13, it basically felt like I was an only child, save for holidays. The three of us would go out to dinner, go to movies, and watch shows together every night; they felt like the best roommates in the world (who would tell me to clean my room sometimes).

So, it seemed to shock everyone else when I told them I wasn't staying home for college. When my brother left, just a three-hour drive away, my extended family acted like he'd moved to another planet, so the fact that I was leaving the state was unheard of. My parents and I were completely unfazed, however, since it had been my dream to go to school in New York since the eighth grade. Still, my grandmother wondered how I was going to adjust to life without my parents. What about my parents without me, the apple of their eye? Well, flash forward four years and here's a spoiler alert: very easily.

Going away for college isn't for everyone, but for me, it didn't seem scary or lonely at all. Of course, I had the fears all of my peers were voicing: How would I make friends in a place full of strangers? How was I going to balance my personal life, school, work — all of it? What if I got lost? What if I hated it and I wanted to go home? Sure, all of those thoughts passed through my brain at some point, but never did I think my attachment to my parents would hold me back. When it came time to say our final goodbyes, none of us even shed a tear. I knew I would see them again (probably sooner rather than later). I knew we would FaceTime and call and text (I think I call my mom about five times a day, and that's when I'm busy). But more than all of that, I knew the confidence and independence they had nurtured in me.

Moving from a place where I felt so comfortable to completely foreign territory wasn't a challenge for the reasons most people may assume. If anything, growing up unapologetically myself, accepted, and loved gave me the confidence to go out into the world and expect nothing less back from it. I was encouraged to step out of my comfort zone and explore everything life has to offer, like studying abroad in Europe, discovering the Wild West that are dating apps, and the terrifying prospect of job hunting in NYC. And I dove right in from the moment my parents left my tiny dorm room, because I knew, and still do, that there's a cozy place in between Mom and Dad to come home to whenever I want.