By Naomi Vakharia ’20
“No way! You’re from Cali?” is something I hear almost every time I introduce myself and my home state at Bentley. Moving from sunny Los Angeles to (sometimes) cold New England is the biggest decision I’ve ever made, but one that I absolutely do not regret. I’ve spent one year on the East Coast now, and I’ve learned a lot from my time here.
Winter is Coming
One of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust to has been the weather. I spent almost all of my first semester in at least three layers. When I first moved in, my parents and I immediately went shopping at the Natick Mall and looked around for winter coats. Following the advice of family friends, we bought a huge down coat that I have worn a grand total of two times — once in the store while trying it out and once while sledding on the Adamian hill.
Instead, once the chill began to sit in, I found myself wearing more and more layers. While my roommate (who is used to this weather) would laugh at me, it ended up helping me in the long run. I wouldn’t have to constantly wear large coats or jackets, but would still be warm enough to walk around campus without going numb.
Happily, as time went on, I got used to the cold winds and icy pathways. I would wear fewer layers and still be fine, despite some low temperatures. Whenever my family asks how I survived winter here when they are shivering in 60-degree weather, I always just laugh and say, “You can’t escape it, so you have to get used to it.” That mentality, as silly as it sounds, kept my morale up and my complaints to a minimum.
Luckily for me, this past winter was relatively mild, which meant that my first “real winter” on the East Coast left me less hypothermic than most others might have.
No Place Like Home
Homesickness. It’s hard and inevitable. Unlike good ol’ Dorothy, I didn’t have the power to go home with the simple click of my heels. First semester freshman year, I didn’t go home until Winter Break. That meant that I spent four months without seeing my family and had to watch as all my friends visited their parents during Fall Break and Thanksgiving. That first semester was hard, I’m not going to lie. But, it is doable.
Keeping busy was the biggest ways I learned to avoid feeling homesick. I would make sure I was doing something or with people to keep my mind off of it. Doing schoolwork, going to the city with friends, or even just taking naps —it all helped. Once Winter Break came and I arrived at LAX, I realized how much I needed to be back at home. Seeing my parents after an entire semester was one of the best feelings ever. I decided quickly that I needed to visit home more than just at the end of each semester. So, during my visit, I booked my flight to California for Spring Break.
Now, I try to talk to my family and friends on a daily basis. Even if I just have 15 minutes in between classes, I will call my parents just to say hi and catch up while we can. This has honestly helped my relationship with them, as they are always in the know about my life and vice versa.
On the other hand, my hometown friends and I have less time to talk as our schedules are hectic and do not overlap. In that situation, we like to schedule a Skype call or FaceTime twice a month and catch up on our lives. I’ve found that the more you keep in touch with your family and friends, the less distance seems to affect your relationship.
Overall, the past year has been a rollercoaster of emotions and adventures. Moving to Massachusetts, beginning college, finally figuring out what Super Bingo is — it’s all been a wild ride. But leaving California — as hard as it was — is something I’m glad I did.