Growing up in a classic Midwestern College town really changed my view on... well, everything. Bowling Green, Ohio is pretty open-minded to most things, really pushes for education, and is known the USA over for the National Tractor Pull competition that is held here every summer. That's right, I said "tractor pull" (look it up if you wish). I always said I would go to school far away from the cornfields of my home and really explore what the world had for me.
But then, I found myself sitting in an orientation at Bowling Green State University, silently loving everything I was hearing. My stubborn self was not about to admit that this was really the place for me. When all was said and done, I moved into my dorm... a whopping four minutes across town from the house I had grown up in.
This first year on the other side of the train tracks (literally) has taught me a lot, so here are 17 of the things I have learned about staying in my lovely little college town.
1. Campus is a completely different world from town
Campus is really its own functioning town; It even has its own zip code. I really had no idea how "far' away from home I would feel in my hometown, and that is exactly what I wanted.
2. Your dog is the one you miss the most
Being a four-minute drive from my dog is truly the best part of college in my hometown, I can't even lie.
3. Move in day is much easier when you don't have to haul everything at once
Living a stone's throw away means that there's no need to pack up the whole room for move-in day when you can bring things gradually over several days. A true advantage.
4. Independence is bliss
The first time you have to go home after spending time being a "grown-up" makes you realize how nice it is to be able to make decisions on your own
5. Independence is a curse
Independence is amazing and all, but sometimes paying the $6 for toilet paper just really makes you wish you were still a kid.
6. In a small town, you can't escape your high school 'pals'
A huge amount of kids from my high school stay here for college, some because of the financial benefits, some for a major they really are passionate about, and some because they don't want to put in the effort to look anywhere else. Basically, there's no escaping your old high school cliques when the cliques stay around for college.
7. The back roads are the best roads
When you go to school in the same town you've grown up in you have the advantage of knowing your way around. Sometimes you know that the back roads are the SUPERIOR way of travel, and nobody can convince you otherwise.
8. Upperclassmen may say they live there, but they don't REALLY live there.
You don't get to say you're a townie until you've suffered through all the highs and lows of the town. In BG, that means the Tractor Pull at the low end and the Black Swamp Art Festival at the high end. Get back to me about being a resident after you've been stuck behind a tractor on your way to school in the morning or have really suffered through the worst of the area's weather and THEN we can talk about your townie status.
9. There are real life people who live in your college town
When the college kids say "whoa there's people here?" you get mildly offended because "that's my mom you're talking about!"
10. You know what to expect with the weather
When you check the weather in the morning, you know what to expect based on what you know about your hometown's weather. When other kids say, "Oh, wow, it's windy" you give them a side eye look because you already know what's up.
11. The cemetery is normal
This may just be a BGSU thing, but there's a cemetery in the center of our campus, and growing up I always just thought it was a normal thing. Turns out other places do not have their town cemetery in the middle of their campus and that kind of weirds some people out.
12. That one big convention is a yearly thing
Being on the other end of town during school season means being face to face with the giant college convention that comes to campus every year. At BG, it's an anime festival, but every campus has at least one.
13. You know when you're paying too much for gas
Another perk of doing all your driving in your hometown means you know how much gas typically costs and where it's cheaper so you get the upper hand when it comes to saving that gas money.
14. Your parents are right there when you need something
No matter if you're having a medical issue, asking an important question, or just really need a hug from your dad, having your parents close has its perks. I really don't know what I would do without my mom bringing me fresh blackberries or my dad not asking any questions when I come over just to get away from the stress of things.
15. There's easy access to your favorite local food
Every college town has that one restaurant that really just hits the spot, and staying home for college means easy access to that comfort food all the time.
16. You learn so much about yourself
I have learned more about myself than I thought I would, and a lot of that comes from being in a new environment. Even though my new environment is the other side of town, It's a completely new perspective of living in your hometown.
17. You learn so much about your town
I have a new found respect and love for my town since I have seen the other side of the college aspect. I have always understood the town's lackluster view of the college kids, but now I totally get the college side of the argument. All in all, living in my college town for the next four years is something I am so glad I chose.