What It's Like Growing Up In Pennsylvania

What It's Like Growing Up In Pennsylvania

You’re either in the middle of no where or you’re in the middle of suburban world.
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From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and Honeybrook to Lancaster, there’s never a dull spot in the state of Pennsylvania. As someone who has grown up in Exton, Pennsylvania, I can happily say that I live close to Philadelphia, King of Prussia, and West Chester.

West Chester, home to the University and a cute town, is one of the closest popular places to Exton. With Main Street and an old school town vibe, it’s sure to never disappoint. Going into West Chester can mean trips to nice restaurants, ice cream shops, or to West Chester University. Camps were always popular there and a good amount of kids from my hometown go to college there now.

King of Prussia, or the reference point for my area for people who don’t live in Pennsylvania, is home to my favorite mall of all time. Sure, we have a mall in my town, but that doesn’t even come close to comparing to the KOP mall. With high end stores, niche restaurants, and more than you could ever imagine, King of Prussia is easily one of my favorite Pennsylvania places.

Philadelphia is of course the most known area close to me. Home of the Eagles, or Super Bowl Champions as we now prefer, we’re pretty great. Philly never disappoints with sites on South Street, Center City, and of course the Sports Complexes. Museums and Old City are known for their historic vibe and they’re both great places to go for a sense of the city.

Now for Exton, nested between Chester Springs and Downingtown, my home. Anyone who grew up in Exton or the neighboring towns can tell you that we’re a pretty classic suburban town. Diners, a mall, lots of shopping, and even a Whole Foods. Classic places to go growing up included Marsh Creek State Park, PowerPlay Ice Rink, the Exton Mall, Regal Movie Theater, and Stadium Grille. Looking back, some of my all time favorite memories are at these places. Driving around Exton is an adventure within itself. One minute you’re in an extremely populated area and the next you’re only seeing farms and fields for miles. With our own little Main Street at Exton, we have our attempt at an old town vibe. We have ice cream, a movie theater, and our newest addition, a craft beer tavern.

Places like PJ’s and Applebee’s are home to high school memories. After football games basically the entire school would be at Applebee’s. Our high school environment was a classic large school. You would know everyone’s name, you’d go to every football game, and you couldn’t wait to graduate all at the same time. Some of the best people I’ve ever known are from East and I’m beyond thankful for that. As much as I’ve never met a more similar group of people, we’re also all so different.

As for Pennsylvania as a whole, we’re home to never-ending construction, potholes galore, and cities that eventually turn into farms if you drive long enough. Pennsylvania is beautiful and driving around it is one of my favorite things to do. I could never be bored of such a great sight to see. Pennsylvania is my forever home and I am so grateful to say that. Oh, and go birds!

Cover Image Credit: Mekenna Passner

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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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7 Quotes About New Beginnings That Are Sure To Brighten Your New Year

Just a little inspiration to make you feel good.

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It's a new year, and that means it's time to return to school with a clean slate and a refreshed state of mind. Here are some words of wisdom about new beginnings.

1. “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” ―Taylor Swift

2. “And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”    ―Rainer Maria Rilke

3. “Realize that if a door is closed, it’s because what was behind it wasn’t meant for you.” ―Mandy Hale

4. “Rather than turning the page, it's much easier to just throw the book away.” ―Anthony Liccione

5.  “Morning not only forgives, it forgets.” ―Marty Rubin

6.  “You can start anew at any given moment. Life is just the passage of time and it’s up to you to pass it as you please.” ―Charlotte Eriksson

7.  “Sometimes painful endings bring the best new beginnings.” ―Shae Ross

I hope these quotes help you realize how special new beginnings are!

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