Moving Away for College

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EDINBURG – As a new semester is set to start, some students will head out of town for college.

One local student, who left for college two years ago, served as a mentor and offered perspective to the new GEAR UP college freshman.

Moving away can be difficult for some students.

“My family is the type where I’m the only daughter and so, me leaving was a big thing, even my older brother didn’t leave he stayed here,” Texas A&M College Station student Marlenie Arzamendi said.

She left the Valley for College Station and is no stranger to new environments.

“I was born in Coahuila and I moved to the United States when I was three years old. I lived in Houston, I’ve lived in Michigan, I’ve lived in Colorado, and then finally here in the Rio Grande Valley. So it was a lot of moving. I feel like that made me a better person,” she said.

Arzamendi said it wasn’t easy moving hundreds of miles away from home, but moving created a sense of independence.

Tina Atkins, former GEAR UP director, agreed traveling to new areas helps develop students into better leaders.

“Not only are they going to have an incredible voice, they’re going to have new ideas and thoughts that they’re getting from other parts of the state and other parts of the country that they can come back and really influence out community with,” she said.

The soon-to-be grad wasn’t alone. She found a support system in spite of the distance.

“Usually calling my mom, calling my parents, and also making friends,” Arzamendi said. “It’s funny because going to a new university usually means meeting completely new people, but for some, example at Texas A&M for some reason Rio Grande Valley people find each other so you always get that sense of home, that familiarity,” Arzamendi said.

She said she hopes GEAR UP students who journey out of the Valley learn new skills, get comfortable outside their comfort zone and expand their horizons.