"Oh my gosh. That's SO tiny!" That's the first thing I usually get when I tell people how small my graduating class was. (I graduated with less than 90 people, in case you were curious.) I grew up in a town where there was only one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. That means I spent over 12 years with the same people in school, give or take a few transfers. I knew EVERYONE, and I knew their middle names, parents' names, dogs' names — you get the picture.
So, of course, when I tell people this, the first question that they have for me is, "So why did you want to come to such a big school like LSU?" They ask this because my situation is pretty unique compared to the perceived majority of the students here. Not only did I come in knowing no one, I came in unsure of how to navigate such a large place. The Sonic we have just beyond the overpass is the main attraction in my hometown. Here, it's a live tiger and a legendary football team.
Why did I choose to come to such a big school? For the most part, I came for the things that most people come for: the tiger, the culture, and the stellar student section at sporting events.
But us small-town girls? We come for other reasons, too. We come for the people. We come for the new opportunities. We come for the sheer bigness of it all. We come to big schools because it's so different from where we grew up.
I'm not gonna lie, it's scary. Being in a new place is stressful in and of itself, but being in such a gigantic new place is a whole nother level of frightening. Here, it takes more than 10 minutes to drive across town. There are multiple zip codes and more places to get lost than I can count. Everything about being here was so new to me when I first arrived, and I was completely overwhelmed. I wondered if I had made the right decision in leaving the little place I call home.
But now I'm two years in, and I can say with certainty that this decision has been one of the best of my young life. It's true that I don't know everyone (yet!), but the people I do know here are some of the most important people in my life. They're people that I would've never met if I had stayed in my little town.
So, to you, small-town girl heading to the big city for school, don't be scared! Even though you're going to a place with more than 1 stoplight, it isn't that scary — I promise. This place is full of opportunities and experiences that are waiting for you! Don't be afraid to branch out and try all the things that it has to offer.
Take it from me, you're gonna be just fine.
A Fellow Small-Town Girl