By Stephanie Dominguez

With 98% of alumni satisfied with their years at Eastern Illinois University, it is shocking when a student chooses to go back home- for good.

Sally Smith* was a former student at EIU for a little over a week. Her sister had studied here for a couple years, so she was familiar with the campus. When her senior year of high school was coming to an end, all she could think about was moving out and starting a new chapter of her life.

As summer moved along, the truth of leaving her nest became more and more daunting. “The closer that move in day got, the more nervous I felt,” Smith said. She felt she couldn’t tell her parents she didn’t want to go anymore because her dad kept insisting she give it a try and had already spent over $1000 on dorm necessities.

“I didn’t have a roommate, and I was worried I wasn’t going to make any friends. The roommate I was supposed to have is going to be busy all the time, and although that wouldn’t have changed living with me, at least she would have been my roommate,” Smith said. Her roommate was going to be an athlete the next four years at EIU and decided to room with another teammate since it was highly recommended by her coach.

During move-in weekend, EIU hosts a series of events for freshmen to attend called Prowl. These events help freshmen interact with other students, make friends, and get used to being on campus that first weekend. However, Smith said she didn’t go to any of those events either.

Smith remembers feeling anxious and uncomfortable, so she went to the movies by herself that first Friday night to get off campus for a little while. She recalls leaving the theatre and seeing multiple missed calls and texts from her best friend inviting her to go out with her and her new teammates. “It was nice of her to try and include me, but I was simply so embarrassed. Everyone’s having the time of their life, and I’m alone in my dorm wishing I was home,” she said.

Despite the social anxiety, Smith said, “EIU was great. The class sizes were great, the campus size was perfect. My sister had gone there, so I knew what all of it was like already, it’s just different when it’s you “doing college” for your first time. I don’t think I was ready for college, anywhere. EIU was great, I just wasn’t ready.” Smith left for home the weekend after labor day and now studies at a university elsewhere.

*Names have been changed

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