We’re not in Missouri anymore

Moving away from home for college is tough. Graduate student Halle Upshaw has done it twice in the past five years.

Halle Upshaw

I’m still shocked that the past four years of my life could fit in a 10 by 10 U-Haul van. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a journalism degree, it was time to move on to my next chapter.

My dad drove from my hometown in Arkansas to Missouri in order to help me move 1,000 miles away. Mizzou has been my home for the past four years. I made so many friends that turned into family, memories that will most certainly last a lifetime and a community that supported my success.

It wasn’t until I was driving away with my dad in a U-Haul that I felt crazy for leaving it behind. I questioned if I had made the right decision, or if I should have just gone to work or attended graduate school at my alma mater.

I can say with confidence now, that no decision you make in your twenties is “wrong.” They may be terrifying, uncomfortable, or outlandish—but never wrong. In one of the scariest decisions I’ve made to date, I survived.

I’ve not only survived here, but I’ve had the opportunity to thrive. Syracuse has provided an environment that encourages curiosity. That curiosity for life is what got me to this point, and I can attest to the fact that promise is fulfilled here.

Being from Arkansas, I was very used to seeing the same types of people involved in a lot of the same types of activities. In Missouri, I was exposed to a little bit more in terms of culture and diversity, but again nothing I hadn’t experienced before.

Syracuse would have to be the most diverse place I have ever lived. I know that probably sounds crazy to some of you, but I know it resonates with someone. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek out of the little bubble we tend to live in, this is the place to do it.  

I love that I have friends here who tell me stories about the west coast, the midwest, the Philippines, Korea… honestly, you name it. By being in one place I’ve learned more about the world in one year than I would have anywhere else.

It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least, but I’ve gained so much. 

In the short amount of time that I’ve been on campus, I have grown tremendously in my knowledge of the advertising industry by hearing first-hand accounts from some of the leaders in the industry. Uprooting your life is never easy, and I can imagine it never will be, but we all have to start somewhere. Syracuse is my somewhere. My next chapter has just begun.

Halle Upshaw is a graduate student in the advertising program at the Newhouse School.