Week four of freshman year. The haven of unrealistically exuberant greetings and opportunities for free pizza has ended. The once eternally open doors of the residence halls have slammed shut and the hall bonding activities have withered away, along with your motivation to study for midterms. DLG’s menu sounds monotonous and the motivation to go to the gym now rarely ends in an actual trip to the RecCen. The myths surrounding Del Playa and Isla Vista in general have largely dissipated and more weekends than your Snapchat story would suggest have been spent drunkenly wandering the beer-stained streets in search of an open gate. Week four of freshman year and Hollywood’s romanticized notions of what college would be like are not manifesting themselves in your daily life (in other words, Jonah Hill is not delivering some heart-wrenching slam poetry at the Hub while you open beers with your eyelids). For some, this realization and adjustment are surmountable obstacles. For others, the temptation to quit becomes overwhelmingly strong.

For this latter group, day-to-day life at UCSB isn’t anything like what one would expect a day at a prestigious beachside research university to be like. Days are spent agonizing over the workload, emotionally calling parents and best friends, and researching Amtrak/plane ticket prices for impromptu trips home before Thanksgiving break. The separation from all that is familiar and the imminent homesickness make it nearly impossible to find the motivation to follow the standard advice of “Join a club! Get involved! Meet new people! Just wait it out!”And even if a student does follow this advice, there’s always the possibility that ignoring the internal plea to return home isn’t in his or her best interest in the first place.

What if the constant distractions of a bustling social life and extracurriculars only further mask and repress a legitimate and justified yearning to return home? Having been raised by stiflingly overprotective Persian parents who believe, as everyone in Iran apparently believes, that 17/18 is much too young to leave the nest, and that a more appropriate age to be independent is 23/24, I am somewhat inclined to believe that 17 or 18 really is too young to emotionally adjust to a completely new academic and social environment. These same Persian parents have subliminally left articles on my bed detailing the drawbacks of leaving home so young only to enter what they believe to be four years of drugs, sex and alcohol, and the benefits of attending a community college until age 20 to have time to mature, adjust academically and leave less room for error (arrests or academic probation).

The arguments are compelling enough that when I heard that a fellow freshman was contemplating dropping out, my immediate response wasn’t opposition. While it’s more common to hear of students transferring schools after a year because of bad fit or finances, it’s less common and less socially acceptable to hear of someone calling it quits after a quarter or two. There’s certainly some stigma towards people who “quit”early or are “too weak”to just get over it. Given this stigma, it’s surprising to hear how many of my peers at their respective “dream schools,”especially those on the east coast, reveal feelings of immense homesickness and stress despite their envy-inducing social media photos. Is it possible that we’d all be better off going to college a little later in life?

It’s not easy to generalize that all suffering and hardship is worth it and is rewarded by a newfound strength and wisdom. But I’ll try to do it anyway. While I’m very aware of the valid counter opinions, I’ll have to say that leaving is not the answer. So long as there isn’t an imminent crisis or tragedy that would render one incapable of handling such a change, sticking through the discomfort and anxieties of freshman year really is better than the alternative. In my time here so far I’ve been confronted by awkward social encounters, rejection from a co-ed frat, limitless piles of hair in the shower drains, homesickness and the occasional stress-induced shutdown. Upon visiting home and seeing my friends, many of whom got into UC schools, who opted to stay local, I was surprised to see how much I’d grown by comparison. While I envied their access to restaurants and their queen-sized beds, I knew immediately that I would rather struggle and cry than experience stagnancy. While mental health absolutely comes before any advice to “stay strong,” it is important to assess whether the temptation to go home is a product of depression or mere discomfort. Our adult lives will inevitably be rife with uncomfortable forced socializing, less-than ideal housing/roommate situations and, for many, periods of immense stress and loneliness. To experience and eventually overcome these problems early in our lives, and in an environment as safe as this one, is a luxury we take for granted.

Sabrina Hodjati says stick it out — it’s worth it.