You Can Live Anywhere for Two Years… Or More.

There are two sayings: you can always go home and home is where you make it. Now I believe both of these are true, however it is not as easy as it seems. While attending Ball State University in the Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAAHE) master’s program we were told to expand our job search and that we could live anywhere for a couple of years. This was good advice and I listened- I applied anywhere and everywhere I could. However, during the stressful job search process, I was lucky enough to be notified about a job that fit all of my professional goals. It just so happened to be in my hometown of Lafayette, Indiana. Although my mother was very excited, I tried not to get my hopes too high about this perfect job. Well we all know the rest of the story; I ended up accepting the position as a Financial Aid Advisor at Ivy Tech Community College-Lafayette.

Now, I would like to discuss some of the pros and cons of working and living in your hometown. It is not as glamorous as one might think…

How bad could it be?
This is what I thought to myself as prepared for my move home. I had not lived in Lafayette in almost seven years when I moved back this past August. It did not set in that I was not going to leave after a couple of weeks until I moved into my new apartment. I had just a few weeks to move from Muncie, Indiana before starting my new job so I temporarily moved back into my parent’s house while looking for a place to live. It was easy to find an apartment since my family knew the best places to look in town. It was definitely great having a place to go while looking but it was strange to start a new job as a first time professional and having to tell your new supervisors and co-workers that I lived with my parents. I made it perfectly clear it was temporary!

Transitioning from graduate student to a first time professional is definitely a transition and you really need a support system to help manage the stress. I did not have any friends living near me but thankfully I had my family. I was able to spend time with my parents, sisters, and my lovely nieces and nephew. I was able to be near my family during a recent crisis and am very grateful for that.

However, I would run into people from my former life constantly and it was strange, awkward, and unfamiliar. It was rough not having any close friends nearby.  I realize I was not alone and this is a struggle for all people moving to a new place, but this did not seem like a new place to me. It was strange living in a place that was so familiar but yet so different. I had become a new person with different needs and interests. Now, I am a person who needs adventure and thrills in my life and this is something I had a hard time finding. People told me I was lucky to find a job so close to home, however I did not feel so lucky. I was struggling with transitioning from a student to professional and also struggling to find myself in this town.

You can do it!
I decided that I was going to take advantage of this opportunity and make this my home. Although this had been my home for the first 18 years of my life, it did not feel like home anymore. Anyone who tells you moving home is easy is a crazy person! After some time, I started making new friends, getting comfortable in my new job, and accepting my new life in this strange but familiar place. I think some of the people in my life thought I was moving back to Lafayette because it was familiar and safe. This was definitely not the case for me. I accepted a job because it fit my professional goals and I knew it would be a great place for me to grow and develop my skills. The location was secondary and it ultimately worked out in my favor but this may not work for everyone.

I think the real moral of the story here is you really can live anywhere. The exact location does not matter, it just depends on how you use the situation to fit what you need and embrace the transition. I have discovered new things about my hometown and about myself during this transition. I have no idea how long I will live here, I might move somewhere else in the future. I really have no clue and that is ok with me! It really just depends on where my career takes me and allows me to grow professionally. I do know from experience now that I can live anywhere and make it my home. 

Amber Phillips

Student Affairs - the First Years

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