Close to home: A local perspective

Why everyone should consider their local schools.

Featured Image: Sophomore Jalen Major in front of the Greer
Envrionmental Sciences Center. Madelyn Yale | Marlin Chronicle

I am currently a sophomore at Virginia Wesleyan University pursuing a degree in Biology. I am from Virginia Beach, just thirty minutes away, but live on campus. 

Many students that go to school far from home have to learn the landscape and culture of their new home which can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful. This is especially true if a student has not lived away from home for an extended period of time prior to college. This was the case for me and was a prevailing reason for choosing Virginia Wesleyan. 

I had never lived far from home without my family for more than a few days, so the thought of moving hours or even states away was certainly anxiety-inducing. 

Familiarity with Virginia Beach was very comforting, as I already knew where I could get an off-campus job, food or other resources. In fact, I started working in the fall semester for a business that I had become familiar with growing up and greatly enjoy.

I am also able to get food and other things I need from stores that I have gone to for years already, meaning that I have not had to change my normal behaviors much, allowing me to adapt to a new situation.   

The most substantial benefit of going to a local school is the close proximity to family and friends. I am very close to my family, and, as stated before, I had not lived without them prior to moving onto campus. 

I felt that taking a small step away from home would be better than throwing myself into a brand new environment many miles away. I would instead be able to slowly adjust to living in a new location to build greater interdependence and overall maturity, while also maintaining support from my family if need be. 

This decision has been especially beneficial as I can see my family at virtually any time and go home when I please. 

The cost of going to an out-of-state school was a critical factor in my education. In-state tuition is already expensive, so paying up to double that to study out-of-state can be absolutely insurmountable. 

Additionally, the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant was a great benefit of staying in the state covering an appreciable portion of my bill.

Another benefit of living so close to campus is the reduction in costs. Even though in-state and out-of-state tuition for Virginia Wesleyan is the same, I was still able to save money by being so close to home. Being near campus means that traveling is less expensive due to less stops for gas, and I am able to save money on supplies. 

Whenever I go home, my parents supply me with food and I am able to grab whatever toiletries or other items we already have instead of buying new things just outside of campus.  

If I ever miss home or just want to see my sister in person, I can take a short trip home for a weekend without much inconvenience. I can also meet up with friends from high school during long weekends and vacations, which is nice when we have been gone for months at different schools around the country. This proximity to those closest to me is assuredly the greatest perk of going to school locally.

Jalen Major is a sophomore Biology major. He is a member of the orchestra and enjoys reading. Contact him at

By Jalen Major