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Mary Kate in Another State

Samantha Orland

*A guest blog by dear friend and partner in crime, DJ MK (Mary Kate Hardy)

The hardest part about my decision to come to Vanderbilt was leaving my family.  Vandy always seemed like an awesome school, but six hours away from home (South Carolina) was a long way!  I was (and am) super close with my family, and I had never been apart from them for more than a week.  Freshmen at Vanderbilt do not have cars, so attending Vanderbilt would mean only coming home for major holidays, and that’s a big change if you ask me.  My best friend is my sister Emmy, who is a year younger than me, so living so far away from her was something that terrified me and almost made me decide to go to an in-state school.

Aren't we cute?

After many tears were shed, I made the big leap to Nashville.  Freshmen year was hard but worth it. It was difficult to come to a big city knowing no one and trying to make new friends in a place where I felt very overwhelmed.  First semester, I met a lot of people who all seemed very nice, but it was hard to make lasting friendships instead of just acquaintances. In the first few weeks, freshmen have a built-in support group of VUcept, but it’s nice to make connections with people on your own.  After doing everything with my sister back home, it was weird to be so independent and have to do little things like go work out and eat breakfast on my own.

The good news is… I made it!  After hard work and lots of hanging out, I made real friends.  I have been blessed more than I could have ever imagined with a group of people that I love spending time with and that I know I can depend on.  However, that’s not to say that my relationships with my family have gone away.  It was hard to find a balance between staying in touch with them and keeping a distance, and I definitely don’t talk to them as much as I did when I first left.  I still Facetime with my family once a week and sometimes have a bonus phone call with my mom.  I chat with my sister once or twice a week now that she is in college at USC, and we communicate via email about the important things in life like the upcoming Justin Bieber concert we are both attending in Nashville on January 18th.  My relationship with my family has changed, but they are even more important to me now than they were before.  I see how blessed I am to have such an amazing family who truly wants the best for me and supports me in whatever I do, even if I choose to leave them and go to college far away.  I miss them and I hope they miss me, but I know that Vandy is where I belong!

This is what true friendship looks like.

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