Step Out There

by Eliana Santesteban

Applying for college has already begun in most schools and is right around the corner for others. If you are someone at this stage in your life, I know this can be a stressful time—always wondering where you will end up. I grew up in a small town, Fresno, California, and made a huge move out to Chicago to attend Loyola University. At the start of doing college applications, I thought I wanted to stay near my family; I did not want to miss out on anything. That was until I made the visit out to Chicago. I immediately knew it was the place for me. As I walked through the city and on campus, I could picture myself living there. Don’t get me wrong, I was terrified— terrified to move to this huge, fast-paced environment. Coming from a small town where everyone knows each other, this big city was my chance to get to know people I would have never known existed. I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone and go far from home, and I have met some of the most amazing people that I now get to call my friends. 

Specifically, my roommate, Liz Setti, is one of a kind. She has become my closest friend—the person I know I can go to for anything. She and her family have been kind enough to take me in as their own on school breaks and I know I am always welcome in their home. By stepping outside of your comfort zone, you too could find your 

Setti Family. 

The experiences I have had from being in a new place, with all new people, have taught me the greatest life lessons—the lessons of being adaptable, responsible, and independent. Being able to provide for yourself and controlling what your schedule is like day to day, brings you into the real world. Being able to make connections, on a clean slate, helps people get to know you for who you truly are. I have also realized that my family will always be there for me. With today’s technology, we are so lucky to be able to stay with our families—to call and FaceTime them. Still, that feeling of going back home for the first time makes you realize you cannot take it for granted. It only pushed me more to keep my relationships with people close to me and always strive for maintaining those connections.

I know that it can be scary and hard to think of being so far away, but I genuinely would not change this experience for anything. There is so much out in this world that you could be missing out on. This could be your chance to explore a new place and grow as an individual. For those of you stressing about where you should go to college: Push yourself out there and follow your heart, because there could be an experience waiting for you just 

like mine. 

About Eliana Santesteban

Eliana is a freshman at Loyola University Chicago in the Business Pre Law program. She is from Fresno, California and is excited to be a new resident of the midwest. In her free time Eliana works in an after care program for Chicago Public Schools. Eliana also enjoys reading and spending time with her friends in the new environment she is experiencing.