All my life, I've lived in a city of about 400,000 people. Needless to say, my decision to go to college in a town of 11,000 (including my 2,500 person school) meant I was in for some culture shock. Of course I knew that it was going to be different, but I didn't know quite how opposite my experiences would be from what I was used to in the city.
1. The people are super friendly.
If you go into town, you'll be greeted by smiling residents and asked how your day has been. I'm accustomed to getting the occasional sideways glance or angry glare from a stranger in the cities, so this took me quite a while to get used to. At first, I was a little put off. What could these people possibly want from me? Were they secret agents hired to gather as much information about me as possible, or were they REALLY interested in what my major was and how I liked college so far? It's honestly quite comforting, but my city-girl reflexes still kick in sometimes and try to convince me that this is just plain weird.
2. A quick trip to the store? Forget about it.
If I ever needed something in the city, I could just run across the street to the grocery store. But here, I'm accustomed to driving 15+ minutes to the nearest Target.
3. If you hear a siren or car horn in a small town, something is definitely wrong.
In my eighteen years of city living, I'm become almost immune to the noises of traffic. I've slept through the sounds of buses, trains, planes, car accidents, and ambulances. Now, if I hear a police siren, I wonder what happened.
4. There's no such thing as Uber here.
I didn't bring a car to college, because I normally didn't need one. I would call an Uber or carpool to get around the city. There have been so many times I've pulled up the app on my phone just hoping to see an available ride coming my way...
5. At home, I wandered around in a sea of unidentified faces. Here, I run into someone I know the second I leave my dorm.
It sounds great until you just want to leave the room wearing sweatpants and no makeup without having someone recognize you and say hi.
6. There's no Starbucks (call me basic, but it's a problem).
How am I supposed to get my venti iced caramel macchiatos with almond milk????
7. I feel so much safer here.
Being from a place dubbed "Murderapolis", I was super excited to find out that this small town hasn't had a murder recorded in quite some time.
8. You don't have to pay for fun in a smaller town.
There are so many great free festivals and events to attend year round. In the city, there's almost always a cover charge.
9. There's no such thing as going to a professional theater production.
I'm lucky to live in a place that prides itself on a rich theater scene. But, when I'm at school, the only hope I have of going to a play is if it's on campus.
10. You can actually see the stars at night.
There's too much smog and too many bright lights that drown out the stars in the city. On the first night of school, when I looked up at the sky at night, I was amazed.
11. There's a tight-knit sense of community.
When you're living amongst nearly half a million people, you're just a number. But, in this smaller community, I actually feel recognized, respected, and cared for.