Rhode Island. The smallest state with the longest name. The Ocean State. Home of coffee milk and Allie’s Donuts. A beloved place by nearly all that live there. I mean what’s not to love? Miles of beaches, a beautiful city, farmland, and all sorts of neat places to explore. It’s no wonder my family, which settled in Rhode Island in the mid 1800s, has never left. So that means I’m supposed to stay there too, right? Once you have family roots in this small state, it’s hard to leave. But, I did it. I left and I don’t think I’m ever coming back to stay.
The idea to leave came to me when I was young, maybe 11 years old. My mom always told my brother and me that we should spend at least a year in college out of state to experience something she never did. My mom lived in the exact same city in Rhode Island for all 51 years of her life. That’s not all that uncommon in Rhode Island either, so my parents pushed the idea of exploring the country (and the world) on us.
Flash forward to 2014 and college applications and I don’t apply to a single college in-state. “That’s such a bad idea, Alyssa,” “Have you considered applying to University of Rhode Island?” “I don’t think you’ll do that well away from home,” are just some of the things people felt necessary to tell me. In 2015 I was packing my bags to head to Washington, DC. I am very certain that people had their doubts about me and thought I would come running home after my first semester.
From the minute I started my freshman year until now living in my first apartment and spending my first summer away from Rhode Island, I have been enamored with DC. I love this city the way some people love New York, LA, or even Providence. Never in my 18 years of being in Rhode Island have I felt the happiness I feel in DC. No car in DC? Not a problem. Don’t have a lot of money, but need something to do? There are a million free activities in the city. I finally feel free to explore and live my life the way I want to.
There is nothing better in this life than feeling like you belong. I do not belong in Rhode Island. As much as people want me to visit and spend my summers there, I am not happy in Rhode Island and I’m not sorry about it anymore. I visit Rhode Island to see my family and that is all. A couple weeks at Christmas and couple weeks in the summer and I feel fulfilled. I belong in DC. DC opened my eyes to a new and exciting world and I don’t think those feelings are going away anytime soon.
I guess what I’m saying is, “it’s not you, Rhode Island, it’s me.” Rhode Island can’t give me what I want and need in life anymore. DC has stolen my heart and given me more opportunities than I know what to do with. I’m thankful for all the time I’ve spent in Rhode Island, but it’s time to part ways permanently. Maybe I’ll find my way back to you one day, but for now, it’s over.