Home is Where the (In-N-Out) Heart Is: Why Stay Close to Home?

As a senior in high school, I applied to many East Coast liberal arts colleges. While the initial plan was about chasing academia and experiencing a proper winter, the perks of staying close gradually unfolded, revealing an enjoyable college experience.

Having family nearby turned out to be a game-changer. I (mostly) avoided homesickness and didn’t miss out on any holidays. Our short breaks (like fall break) allow us to soak up family time, not frantically plan and execute cross-country trips.

Playing tour guide to non-Californian friends is possibly one of my favorite parts of college. Watching them marvel at the bustling life of Los Angeles or experience the sunsets at my famous Laguna Beach adds a layer of joy to my college days. It’s a unique privilege to share the beauty of the West Coast with those living it for the first time.

Then there’s the food. No offense to the East Coast, but nothing beats the culinary delights of the West. In-N-Out burgers, street taco joints – I’ve become a local food ambassador, introducing my friends to the delicious wonders of California cuisine.

Speaking of convenience, the proximity to home is a practical blessing. Whether I need a break from the college hustle or crave the familiar, a quick trip home is all it takes.

While the East Coast battles winter storms, I’m basking in mild-year-round temperatures. The mountains nearby make occasional beach trips or hikes, turning weekends into mini-adventures. It’s a balance of academic rigor and natural beauty that makes every day feel like a pleasant surprise.

And here’s the clincher: doing laundry at home. Amidst the chaos of college life, this seemingly mundane task becomes a simple pleasure. No need to hoard quarters for the laundromat – I can relax at home while my clothes spin in the comfort of my own space.

Essentially, what began as a pursuit of distant academic dreams became an appreciation for the underrated charm of staying close. Scripps College remains the center stage, but Fullerton has become the backstage haven that adds a sense of familiarity, joy, and practicality to my college journey.