At my university, the vast majority of students hail from a big city or one of its equally as populated suburbs. Even though we're surrounded by cornfields, almost no one is actually from the area.
Except for me. I come from a small town about 15 minutes east of my school. By small, I mean like 5,000 people small. And let me tell you, I'd never thought I'd say it, but I miss that place all the time.
In a town that small, everyone knows everyone.
Every mistake you make, every bad thing that happens to you, someone in town is going to hear about it and tell everyone else. It's somewhat irritating, but it's worth it.
People from bigger areas just don't give off that vibe that exudes from us "small-town folk." It's the weirdest thing in the world to me that the people that pass by me on campus don't smile like they know me. In my hometown, whether you're familiar with the other person or not, you smile any time you encounter another living person. That probably sounds weird, but it's actually really nice.
While we don't have tons of restaurant or shopping options, the ones we do have are beloved. It's a good feeling to be able to walk into any local business (and small towns are full of them) and know who's waiting your table or checking you out. Similarly, you've probably seen your teachers outside of school and know they (some of them anyway) know how to party hard. I knew, and probably spoke to, every single person in my graduating class.
Everywhere feels like home when you're surrounded by people you know.
Don't even get me started on hometown pride. Any time anything good happens to any group of people, the whole town takes credit and brags about it in a good way. We hold each other up in tough times too, so those town-wide wins seem even better knowing the obstacles community members have faced.
Much of the bond formed by my community is due to our love of the high school. I would guess that at least 25% of the adults in my town graduated from our local high school and are proud of it. They continue to show their loyalty when teams get out on the field or court.
Oh and on that note, high school sports are the best. Trust me, you're much more invested in the games when you know every single one of the players. Plus, it's super cool to say "Hey, I know that kid!" when they win championships and awards (#ItsAGreatDayToBeASpartan).
But to top it all off, the picturesqueness of small towns is just as majestic as it sounds. My house is literally across the street from a cornfield and everyone has the coolest senior pictures because we don't have to drive far to find beautiful, natural backgrounds. On weekend nights in the summer, there's a 100% chance someone you know will post "bonfire at 9" on their Snapchat story because they have the space to make magical memories with a group of classmates-turned-friends.
Of all the things unique to small towns, country roads might be my favorite. Some of the deepest conversations I've ever had have occurred with a car full of people cruising through the country with the windows down and country music blasting from the speakers. It rarely mattered who was in the car; your deepest secrets always spill their way out while you're surrounded by small-town charm.
So yes, the rumors are true. Everyone DOES know everything about you. Sometimes, it sucks as bad as it sounds. But most of the time, it's pretty dang amazing.