I grew up smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania where there is nothing but cows and Penn State University. For as long as I can remember, I was a down-home, small town girl. And I never wanted to leave.
I loved living in the middle of nowhere.
I thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by nothing but corn and alfalfa fields. I rode horses all my life. I know how to do hay. I can milk a cow and feed calves. I can shoot a gun, fish and ride four-wheelers.
I was the epitome of a country girl.
I can still do all of those things, and I admit, I miss it sometimes. But the closer I got to graduating high school the more I realized I wanted out of that town.
The drama was too much, and if you didn’t leave after you graduated, you were going to be swallowed by the black hole that was Centre and Clinton County.
So, I went to another small-town university a few hours away.
We still had corn and alfalfa fields. We still had cows and horses. And we still had so much drama it was like being back in high school all over again.
That’s when I decided living in bum-fuck Egypt was not for me.
So, the search for a different school began. Granted, there were plenty of other factors that influenced my decision to transfer, like money and switching majors. But, I was ready for a change.
And a drastic one at that.
I went from a town of about 8,000 to a city of 1.5 million. From a school of 2,000 to one with 40,000.
If that isn’t a major life change, I don’t know what is.
It was horrifying at first. The people, the sounds, the sights and, unfortunately, the smells. There was so much to take in. I was in sensory overload for a good semester and a half.
I was extremely nervous walking around. I could not navigate the city to save my life, and public transportation scared the living shit out of me (it doesn’t scare me anymore, it just makes me angry).
The small-town girl was now in the big city, and she had no idea what the hell to do.
I was so used to everyone wearing muck boots, ball caps and camouflage, I was shocked when I saw people with multicolored hair and fashion styles I didn’t even know existed.
There wasn’t any dip spit, rebel flags or lifted trucks blowing smoke. Instead, I saw Hillary stickers stuck to everything, masses of people walking everywhere and weed being smoked fairly openly on campus.
It was literally like going to an entirely different world.
Slowly, I adjusted. Sure, I miss seeing stars and the quiet of being in the middle of nowhere and grass, but the city is gorgeous in its own way.
I look back at my younger self and wonder why the hell I wanted to stay in that small town where no one left, and everyone was either a redneck or thought they were from the hood.
I’ve met so many different people that I would never have had the opportunity to meet had I stayed at home.
I can see things from both ends of the political and cultural spectrum, something most people who have only experienced one side don’t have the ability to say.
I’ve made friends I never would have met and seen the opportunities a large city has to offer. Small towns simply can’t give you as much professional experience as big cities can, in most cases.
I’ll be graduating from college in December, and I can truly say transferring to a large school was one of the greatest things I have ever done.
So, before all you small town people say the city is a horrible place, give it a chance. Open your mind to something a little different. And all you big city folk, understand they’ve never seen anything like this in their life.
Just give it a chance, like I did.