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Close to Home - My Experience as an In-State Student

Claire Bonwell


I’ve always been very close with my family. One of my favorite parts about my life is being around them and spending time with them. I knew that if I went to college close by and in the same state that I would be able to see them regularly. I’m glad that I’m only half an hour away from my home in Crawfordsville, Indiana. This was one of the main factors I was thinking about when I chose my college.

Where I grew up in Crawfordsville, a lot of students participate in 4-H, a youth development program. As a 10-year member, I was chosen to show my decorated cake at the Indiana State Fair.

In high school, I toured smaller colleges — Purdue was the only large school I visited. My high school graduating class was very small, about 140 students. When I visited Purdue, I felt that I could make it as small or large as I wanted to. I really liked that aspect of this university, and I fell in love with the campus.

Even before I came here, I had a connection to Purdue that further solidified my desire to stay in Indiana for college. My dad is a Purdue alumnus and a huge sports fan, so we’ve gone to a lot of games here. When I was in high school, I also participated in cross country events that took place in Greater Lafayette.

One of my favorite parts about being so close is that I get to go home almost every weekend unless I already have plans with my friends here. I also love going to Indianapolis during the weekend and visiting family there. Thinking back on my senior year of high school, I’m glad I chose to go to a college close by so I can still do all the fun things in Indiana.

Studying looks a little different in college! Here I get to enjoy Purdue's beautiful campus while I do homework or prep for an exam.

But despite the proximity, I was still looking forward to some changes in college. I knew the same people in school from kindergarten to high school, so I was really excited to meet new people and make new friends. I also wanted to join organizations that were more engaging and different than clubs in high school, which worked out well for me. I’m a part of Business Ambassadors and give tours to high school students who are interested in coming to Purdue. I love sharing my experience with future Boilermakers! By getting involved in the Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Business and the student-run club, Women in Business, I was able to find my niche in the business school.

On the flipside, one of the things I was most concerned about before moving into my dorm was getting homesick. I’ve lived in the same house my entire life, so I’m not used to moving. I used to get homesick as a kid whenever I did leave home, so I was worried that would happen here. Even though I’m only 30 minutes away from home, the environment feels so different to me. Living in a dorm is so unlike living at home because I have to do a lot more on my own here. There is no one to remind me to eat properly and do my work on time. I have more responsibility here because I need to make sure I am taking care of myself. However, as the year goes on, settling into the rhythm of college has been smooth.

My advice for anyone thinking of staying close to home for college is that you definitely have to make a boundary between home and school. Toward the beginning of the school year, I found myself going home often, even on weeknights if I didn’t have anything else to do. I think it’s important to make sure you don’t spend too much time at home, because then it’ll become really hard to get over the homesickness. But I think with time, it’ll become easy to settle into college with new classes, friends, and fun things on campus.

Claire Bonwell
Claire Bonwell is a freshman majoring in accounting. She is from Crawfordsville, Indiana. She is an ambassador for the business school and is involved Women in Business. Claire is also a member of the Women in Business learning community.

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