I grew up in the perfect description of Small Town, USA. It has two grocery stores, one red light, and zero opportunities. When I was still there, a typical Friday night consisted of hanging out at the Sonic next to our main gas station. Then we switched over to McDonald’s (we got our first one my senior year of high school). High school was bearable with some good memories. The people were okay if you were interested in mud riding, hunting, and fishing. The “Harry Potter” books were a sin. Gossip was terrible. Everyone knew what you were doing, when you were doing it, and who you were doing it with. There were no secrets. My county is even notable for its high teen pregnancy rate and young marriages.
The best thing my little town had was the local community college. It provided a decent education for less money than nearby universities. So, after my senior year, I decided to go to the local community college, and it was the WORST decision I ever made. I stayed at that community college for two years. My junior year of college, I transferred to the university that was 35 minutes from my hometown, but it was a million miles away in my book. I knew from the moment I made that life-changing decision, it was the best one I could have ever made for myself. The impact it had on me, my personality, my confidence, my ability to make friends, and my leadership skills was invaluable.
Moving from a very small town with a population of approximately 2,600 people to a city with 46,000 people was a very, very big change. The lights were brighter, people drove their cars faster, and there were people who I had never seen before in my life. I went from having around 15 options for dinner to hundreds of options. I had never been so amazed in my life before. I had been to this city a countless number of times, but I hadn’t realized how large it was or how many opportunities came along with it. I immediately knew that this was where I belonged and where I would thrive. Within the first few weeks, I made new friends who understood me better than my childhood, high school, and college friends I had previously made. I was able to truly be myself, and I didn’t have to worry about the restrictions and judgments that life in a small town created. If I could go back and move to my new home sooner, I would do it without a doubt.
Small towns are great if you’re into that whole boring, safe, slow lifestyle. But, if your heart beats from excitement, change, and a fast-paced lifestyle, I encourage you to take the leap. Small towns don’t offer opportunity or growth. Neither does staying in one place your whole life. Once I moved, I learned things about myself that I never knew I wanted. I was developing as a woman, and I could feel the changes in me. I gained knowledge that I would have never gained had I not moved away from home. Like, how bad it sucks to pay rent on the first and how precious a night with a hot bubble bath and Netflix are. To those of you who are too scared or unsure of your decision to leave home for the first time, do it. I promise you it will be the best decision of your life. Take advantage of the uncertainty that life brings with every move. You never know how it will turn out if you don’t try. When that day comes, choose differently than I did..