13 Obvious Signs You're From Westfield, Indiana

13 Obvious Signs You're From Westfield, Indiana

For almost a quarter century, Westfield has been my home.
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I am one of a special group of people that began their life in what was once a small, modest, suburban town (a town, not a city), and is now one of the fastest growing cities in Indiana. I've spent my whole life in Westfield, Ind. and hopefully what follows resonates with the rest of you residents and former residents. Here are some of the surest signs you're a Westfield Shamrock.

1. You probably used to have a field behind your house, and now there's a crowded neighborhood.

In the early 90s, Westfield was just starting to boom with the rest of Hamilton County. We were the last civilized stop as you left Indianapolis and drove north on US 31. The last 20 years have given time for the suburban explosion to fill in the gaps around everyone that's been here their whole lives.

2. If you still live in the country, you're starting to see signs for subdivisions being built closer and closer to your house.

As stated in item one, Westfield and our sister cities are experiencing a crazy rapid influx of new residents. New housing projects are springing up left and right, on every corner of every county road as soon as you get beyond the most recently finished housing project into the corn and bean fields.

3. You're slightly unsure of anyone that lives in Carmel, even your friends and family.

Residents of Westfield share this hatred of Carmel with the rest of the greater Indianapolis area. The Carmel Greyhounds were everyone's rival growing up, whether you went to Westfield, Noblesville, Zionsville, Fishers or Hamilton Southeastern. But no one can deny the symbolism behind the Westfield and Carmel water towers, which characterize our rivalry, being built across the street from each other on the edge of city limits.

4. Roundabouts, traffic circles, whatever you want to call them, are absolutely everywhere.


The department of transportation apparently has some kind of hit list. On this list is every intersection in central Indiana, and these intersections will all meet the same fate. Eventually, they will be violently torn apart for months, sending traffic on awful detours to kingdom come, so they can be turned into roundabouts. Or traffic circles, or whatever the hell they're called.

5. If you're in school like me and only go home every few months, it looks like a new place every time.

Along the theme of never-ending construction, Westfield has been getting an extreme makeover in recent years to cope with the growth. Every time I go home from school, I have to call ahead and find out which roads are closed, which are open, which newfangled exit ramps to use, and map out a new way home.

6. Everyone had a friend that lived in the country to host parties.


If you lived in a neighborhood like me, you weren't hosting any parties. All those cars parked on the street, the neighbors only a few yards and a couple of thin walls away, you were getting busted for sure. If you lived in the country, you didn't have neighbors. You had a long, gravel driveway that kept the action away from the road. You had ample room for a bonfire, which was bound to happen. You had the perfect spot to host a secret gathering of high school miscreants.

7. We all went on the same field trips growing up.

Stuckey Farms, Corydon, Ind., and Camp Tecumseh might be ringing a bell or two.

8. You relished the day we became a city and made a point to tell all your friends from Carmel.

On January 1, 2008, Westfield was no longer Carmel's little brother. We were a full-fledged city and no one could lump us into the pow-dunk farm town category anymore.

9. Growing up, youth sports ran everything.

In Westfield and neighboring communities, the local youth sports program was everything. Not only did you and everyone you knew growing up play a sport, everyone in the county knew everyone else from either being on the same team or competing against one another. And, no matter what sport it was, the latest news and gossip was always passed between parents on the sideline of their kids' games.

10. Jan's Village Pizza was the spot.


Just down the road from the high school, Jan's was the place to kick it after school. It was one of the only places that wasn't a weird antique store or a gas station that we could hang out and eat without being taken by our parents.

11. You categorized everyone by which elementary school they went to.

You know who you are. You either went to private or public schools. Among the public schools, you were very proud to be from Washington Elementary, Shamrock Springs, Oak Trace or Carey Ridge. If you went to private school, you were an OLMC kid or you hailed from SMG.

12. For the former Westfield Middle and High School students, we all have that one teacher that left a life long impression on us.

Whether it was Mr. Oestreich, Mr. O'Neil, Mrs., Knight, Mr. Stemnock, Mrs. Gable or Mrs. Mangus, every one of us will never forget one or two incredible teachers that we had growing up.

13. You vividly remember the streak of, well, streakers that terrorized the faculty and made students go wild at WHS pep rallies.

I believe we went three for three my freshman, sophomore, and junior years. And no, mom, none of them were me.

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.

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Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

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