I'm a 21 year old senior at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) and one of the best decisions I've made was to go to CCU in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  I'm originally from New Jersey so South Carolina is very different for me. Graduating in May 2014 is so bittersweet since I do not want to leave the Myrtle Beach area. The cold is not for me so the warm weather and being so close to the beach are two of the main reasons I decided to come to Coastal, behind academics. The beaches here are absolutely stunning with white sand and crystal blue water. After you've had enough sun, there's nothing like grabbing a meal on the water with a nice, cool, refreshing drink. How could I ever refuse a delicious meal overlooking the ocean followed by an amazing night out with live music and great company?

My friends and I cannot get enough of the many shopping and dining options. There is such a variety of restaurants in a small area so you could just walk down the Grand Strand until you find a restaurant you are in the mood for. In New Jersey, I have to drive to a specific restaurant and don't have many options. There is also an unbelievable amount of shopping stores in Myrtle Beach, which I love but my bank account hates. Being a student at CCU, my friends and I are always looking for something to do on the weekends. There are so many amazing options and I don't think I'm going to be able to do everything I've wanted in only four years. I've golfed, shopped, dined, and hiked. I've been to the water park, the beach, and the Intracoastal Waterway. I've shopped at Barefoot Landing and Broadway at the Beach, walked the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk, and  enjoyed the experiences at Pirates Voyage and Dixie Stampede. I've spent weekends at sporting events with my friends, gone to football games and to Pellicans baseball games. I've gone jet skiing, banana boating, and parasailing. There isn't anywhere near this amount of attractions in my hometown up north and I haven't even completed my Myrtle Beach bucket list yet. I still want to ride the Sky Wheel, check out a couple more restaurants, play more mini golf courses, hike some new trails in downtown Conway, and so much more.

One of my favorite things about moving from New Jersey to the south is the southern hospitality. I thought chivalry was dead until I moved down to Myrtle Beach four years ago. Everyone down here is so friendly and always smiles and says "Hey! How are you?" to be polite even when the two of us are complete strangers. It warms my heart knowing that the locals down in the south are genuinely kind; people in the NJ/NY area are in a constant hustle so they don't have the time to be nor the desire to be polite. I couldn't be happier with my life changing decision to go to Coastal Carolina University. Myrtle Beach has become my home away from home.

By Vanessa Yasser