It’s my second year here at MSU and the semester is off to a running start. Classes are in full swing and everyone is excited to begin this next year. The first few days of classes are always semi-awkward. There are a lot of introductory conversations that happen with classmates sitting around each other: “Hi, I’m ________.”; “What year are you?”; “Where are you from?” Every time I face these conversations, it’s always a struggle explaining where my hometown, Armada, is. There are always some surprised faces when I tell people how many students were in my graduating class or that the closest mall is 35 minutes away. They kind of look at me like I’m a farm animal, yes there’s farms where I’m from, and wonder how a small town girl like me ended up at a Big Ten school.
I can tell you that choosing MSU was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, but yes it took some adjusting. Freshman year was a bit of a culture shock. I have never lived in a place with this amount of diversity, let alone, this amount of people in general. I mean there were the basic things I had to get used to; locking my doors at all times, not leaving my bag unattended at the library, and not being able to walk around alone at night. In Armada, everyone knew who I was and I didn’t have to worry about stolen things, locking my car doors, or any dangers of walking in my town at night. Going to school at a big university has taught me how to be responsible for myself without the support of knowing someone on every street corner.
Although Michigan State is such a large university, I am finding that the campus becomes smaller as time passes. I’m finding myself running into classmates and friends on a daily basis on my walks to class. I am also discovering that peers next to me are so similar to me even though we come from different hometowns. Of course I can yell, “Go green!” to anyone on campus and they’ll echo back, “Go White!” Honestly, I’m finding that MSU is a gigantic school with a small town heart.
So, next time someone questions my jump from a farming community to East Lansing, I can let them know that it isn’t that different. MSU is a friendly community with people whose hearts beat and bleed green.