Rattlesnake Syndrome

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Rattlesnake Syndrome

I’ve lived in the same town and in the same house my entire life.  Most of the people I graduated high school with I have known since I was four.  I know my home town like the back of my hand.   My grandma calls that Rattlesnake Syndrome.  Rattlesnakes can only live a few miles away from where they are born—they have very specific habitat requirements.  My decision to move over 700 miles away for college definitely meant I did not have Rattlesnake Syndrome!  Change was not something I was accustomed to which is why I think I was so eager for it.

1st Day of 1st Grade

I went to school in a foreign place called Colorado, two states away from my family in Missouri.  I felt so special going so far away.  I got to fly home for breaks and got care packages from my mom in the mail.  It all felt very glamorous—until it didn’t.  I lived by myself for 9 months at a school where I knew practically no one.  I left my sweet seventeen present at home—my Jeep—so I had no wheels.  I felt trapped.  And as much as I have always considered myself a people person, I haven’t had to try to make new friends since kindergarten!  It was all a lot scarier, more stressful and definitely more difficult than I thought it was going to be.  I missed my friends, I missed my family, I missed my familiarity.  By December I knew something was wrong with my situation.  I flew home for Christmas and had a whole month of quality time with my parents and friends.  I didn’t want to go back.  I realized that something needed to change, again.

I went back for a second semester because I didn’t like the idea of transferring.  I worried people would think I had failed.  Not to mention the fact that I had already spent all this time and energy getting accustomed to a new school and all the changes I had made and now I was ready to ditch all of it and start over?!  What was I thinking?  I tried to make it work but still, I wasn’t happy.  After talking to my parents midway through the second semester, they agreed that I shouldn’t go back.  That was the best feeling in the world knowing that they accepted and supported my decision and they definitely didn’t feel like I would be failing if I transferred to a different college.  I started looking at all the universities near my parent’s house that the year before I had dismissed because they were too close to home for comfort.  If you had of asked me a year ago about going to school anywhere near my parents’ house I would have had a much worse attitude than I do now.  I would have told you that it is good to get out and experience the world!  I still believe that but I also now believe that you can experience the world from the comfort of your own home state.

1st Day of my Sophomore year

My decision to come home was not an easy one to make.  I do not regret my year in Colorado.  I can see all the ways that living there changed me.  I am stronger now than I ever was before.  I am much more realistic.  I know what it really feels like to be alone.  I also now know that it takes some time away from something to realize how much you really love it.  I love my little familiar town.  I love my family.  I love my friends.  Familiar things aren’t always bad you just have to learn to appreciate them.  I have come full circle in my search for change.

In the end, I do have a little bit of Rattlesnake Syndrome.  And that is how I now find myself starting my sophomore year at the University of Central Missouri, just a mere 35 minutes away from my childhood home.  I am just as nervous starting school so close to home as I was starting at Colorado State only now I am not so sure what I am nervous about!  I think change is always nerve-racking but if you never try anything new then you will never find anything out about who you are or what you love.  And if this isn’t the right change for me, then I know I always have the freedom to change it up again.

Don’t ever be afraid to change your situation.

Alexandra Joan Bennett is an editor and writer for Think Outside The Box Inside The Box Media and a college student on a quest to find the perfect major and path in life.


  1. Sounds like you had a neo-“Our Town” experience. (Without that death stuff, which was very sensible of you.) And you’re better off for it. Good.

    Nice essay. And you write really well.

  2. A wonderful post. And the pics are adorable. Good for you. Sometimes going back can be going forward : )

  3. This is great! Change is healthy and good no matter how it manifests itself in your life, particularly when it’s accompanied by a great attitude like you have! Way to go…

  4. The love and support of family and friends sustains our lives and enables us to have the freedom to find ourselves. We usually find ourselves most comfortable in our own backyards where the grass is actually greener.
    I wish you so much luck, Alex.

  5. Way to go Alex, another great job, I have made many of the same choices. I worked far from home several times but always come back, I like Missouri, I like the season changes and love people!

  6. I think a lot of people feel the same way when starting school. It’s hard to get used to things and meet new people, but you do have to step outside your comfort zone. There are people who can fully immerse themselves in a totally different surrounding and there are those (like me) who like to ease themselves in. As long as someone is willing to try something new that’s progress. It’s those who don’t that are really missing out.

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