For many people, leaving home can be difficult and even a little scary. As a transfer student, I was dreading saying goodbye to all the people I would most definitely miss.

I had spent most of my life in the greater Los Angeles area and I later moved just over an hour north to Santa Barbara, Calif., where I attended Santa Barbara City College. Living in Santa Barbara was the first time that I had to live on my own, make new friends, and ultimately support myself. Transferring to another new college would bring new challenges and new opportunities.

Around March, my classmates and I were all making decisions as to which university we would be attending the following fall semester. As a student athlete, sometimes this process is not as simple as it may be for students who don’t play sports. My coach and mentor highly recommended Eastern Nazarene College after speaking to women’s basketball coach Sacha Santimano throughout the semester and felt that this environment would best suit me both academically and athletically.

Toward the end of April, I visited Boston for the first time. I had travelled to many parts of the country before, but never the east coast.

While some would say that Quincy is a small city, there were many things that reminded me of being in Santa Barbara, most distinctly the ocean and close-knit community. This made me feel as comfortable as I could possibly feel despite being more than 3,000 miles away from home. Everyone was attentive to the fact that I was not from the area and were graciously welcoming. This reason alone was enough for me to want to be a student at ENC.

At the end of my visit, I knew that I would be back at ENC for the start of the fall semester.

When I finally arrived on campus in August as a student, it was surreal. I had been anticipating my arrival here for so long. Though I had worried that I would feel homesick, it was actually relaxing to finally be here. I was no longer wondering what to expect—instead, I was living in the moment.

Today, I am focused and prepared to do well in both school and basketball. I am proud of myself for taking the leap to leave home and take on new opportunities. I’m excited for what will come next and I can’t wait to face and overcome new challenges.

I’m thrilled to be a part of the ENC student body and the Quincy community.  Throughout the semester, if you notice me on campus, don’t be afraid to say hello. I’ll be the one who looks cold—shivering, but optimistic.