An Open Letter To My Hometown

An Open Letter To My Hometown

Moving away from here made me realize how much I appreciate where I'm from.
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New Castle, Pennsylvania. A small town about an hour away from the city of Pittsburgh, but only 15 minutes from the Ohio/Pennsylvania state borderline. Also known as the fireworks capital of America, so I guess that's pretty cool but also annoying.

I will admit that you might not be my favorite place in the world. To an extent, you are even a place I never imagine myself coming back to with the exception of visiting my parents (but even they are going to be moving soon). My dreams and ambitions in life are bigger than your city limits can contain, so it is time I discovered the world around me.

Being a daughter of a US Army soldier, I moved around quite a bit. My birth took place in Georgia, moved between there and Texas, lived with my grandmother, and then moved to you. When we first moved, I didn't really know if I would be staying that long anyways. There was even the slight hope that I would be moving to Kentucky going into my junior year when my dad got a new job. Turns out that you would really become home for the next 12 years of my life.

Now, I am living in Philadelphia and attend a D1 school where nobody has heard of you. I don't even acknowledge you until someone else mentions they are from Pittsburgh, and even then, people rarely hear about you except for the negatives and, of course, the fireworks.

"Hi, I heard you're from Pittsburgh! What area? Oakland? Fox Chapel? Upper St. Clair? North Hills?"
"Well I'm not technically from Pittsburgh. I live about an hour away. Have you heard of New Castle?"
"Wait isn't that the place with a huge arson problem? Or the huge Detroit drug trade issue? Wait, New Castle? Oh Zambelli fireworks for the Pirates games!"

Just recently, after being here for five months, I met someone who also was from New Castle. We attended high schools that were about 10 minutes or so apart from each other. When we were talking, all I could talk about the negatives and how neither of us wanted to ever come back. I mean, this kid didn't even go home during breaks except for Christmas. He had really made Philadelphia his new home.

Now thinking back on this conversation, I have come to realize that I owe you a thank you. When I did start my first semester of college, I realized how much I missed you. There were moments I cried over the fact I couldn't come home that often due to travel expenses and I couldn't see the friends I still had. I never thought I would become homesick, but it hit me hard. It also didn't make sense to take a six hour bus ride home, that would probably get delayed; spend less than a day back home, and take the same bus ride back.

Even more so, I wasn't able to taste my mom's home cooked meals or go out to eat at my favorite restaurants.I mean, I have searched all over the city of Philadelphia and have yet to find rice as good as El Canelo's. I also missed watching the Steelers games on Sundays with my family, late night trips to Sheetz, and just being around the people who I grew up with. I knew who I was back home. Coming to college five hours away, I was starting over. Nobody from New Castle went to Temple except me up to this point.

When I do come home, I have a great appreciation for the little things you have to offer. When I see my friends from high school, I love hearing about their own stories from their college experiences so far and how they are finding themselves. I try to hit up every locally owned restaurant in town like Edward's, the Crane Room, El Canelo, and so much more. I also always have to take a drive through town just to see how much things have changed. There is a warm fuzzy feeling that just takes over my body when I see the "Welcome To New Castle. Home to the 2014 AAAA State Champions" sign.

Although, when I do come home, I realize how great my life is too. I have so many friends at college, friends who actually care about me and who I miss so much during breaks. I do love my classes and the endless possibilities where life can take me. Philadelphia is becoming my home as well. I've always loved the city life, and there are just so many places that I still need to discover and explore.

So from a girl who didn't appreciate you that much when I was in high school, thank you.

Thank you for being the place I can return to during breaks.

Thank you for making me realize how much I love my college and always excited to go back (even though the workload might be stressful).

Thank you for being my home.

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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