In-state schools shortchange full college experience

I drink pop, not soda; I wear “zillions,” not “micro braids;” and I like all four seasons, particularly the one with snow.

I am an out-of-state student.

I honestly can’t tell you whether it’s best to stay home for school or go out of state. In my three years as a Rattler, I’ve seen pros and cons to both options.

The first factor is price. If you can’t afford to pay five times as much per credit hour as your in-state peers, then stay home. Even for those with scholarships, once you factor in the costs of traveling home, shipping things back and forth and summer storage, it’s clear that in-state schools put you ahead in the financial arena.

While I’m on the subject of scholarships, we know at Florida A&M University, the conditions of those awards are subject to change at any time, without warning. Note to FAMU: If you lure a student 1,000 miles away from home with the promise of a full ride, you should keep your word.

The second thing I look at is convenience. Being from Detroit, I envy my Floridian peers who can just drive home on the weekends.

Granted, I’m one of those independent people who couldn’t wait to leave the nest, but there are times when fish and grits just can’t compare to a Faygo Red Pop and some Better Made Red Hot potato chips; one point for the comforts of home.

A phenomenon I’ve noticed is that sometimes I build up so much anticipation for Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer breaks, but when I get home, I realize life went on without me. Isolation kind of hurts sometimes.

There’s news and new attitudes, as well. Some of my friends and cousins treat me differently, like they don’t know how to talk to me anymore because I’m in school. It’s like they think I think I’m better than they because I went college. They too were supposed to go to school, but then they got pregnant or (insert any number of scenarios/excuses.) I wonder if anyone else has experienced that or if it’s just me.

Although it may be more convenient, cheaper and more comfortable to stay home for college, leaving mom’s grasp enables you to experience true independence. I have to take care of my own business, including working and paying bills. I also have to decide in what to partake, and, though I thought I would come to school and do it all, I’ve found one thing won’t quite let me: those 18 years of home training.

I am aware that once I enter the “real world,” I’ll have to work with all kinds of people. Leaving my block helped me learn about a whole new region of the country, which has broadened my horizons.

More importantly, when will I ever again be surrounded by 12,000 black people? This is an experience to treasure because once you leave FAMU, it may be hard to find another face that looks like yours within the company you work.

Being an out-of-state student can be difficult at times, but for a person who believes her steps are ordered, I can’t help but to think I’m here for a reason. From Six Mile to The Set, I’ve grown in ways that I probably would have missed had I stayed home.

Driadonna Roland is a junior public relations student from Detroit. She can be reached at