Photo courtesy of Stephen Gangi
I don’t know about you, but my hometown in Northern New Jersey is incredibly small; so small, in fact, that I have to tell people I am from the larger town a couple minutes away, otherwise they won’t have a clue as to where I’m from. If living in a town like that has its benefits, please let me know what they could be, because I am at a complete loss. When you grow up in a town like mine, your social bubble is relatively small and your sphere of influence is even smaller.
Predisposed biases are not uncommon in an area like this, where if you don’t make the
effort yourself to see the bigger picture, then you are succumbing to an era of misinformation and
bigotry. I would like to think that I put in enough work to set up a solid foundation for myself. However, the truth is that everyone around me, including myself, is still constantly learning and adapting to this sudden change of environment, bringing me into my next topic: venturing off to college.
College: a whole new world of possibility where you can meet similarly motivated individuals with their own opinions, perspectives and identities.
When I say this new journey has been the biggest culture shock of my life, I am not being dramatic. You would be amazed at how different the way of life is here compared to my hometown. People here actually have more than one opinion on important national problems and topics. The transition between home and school wasn’t easy for most of us, as the majority of people struggle within their first semester, which is completely normal. It is intimidating being taken out of your comfort zone and thrown into the real world, where you need to fend for yourself and learn how to take care of your mental and physical health. Intimidating as it may seem, it is also necessary for personal growth and development, known as a disruptive change, something that is fast and sometimes necessary.
Think about the you who left home to come to college, whether that was earlier this
year or four years ago. Now think of the you who is currently reading this article. How much change have you experienced over such a short amount of time? You, yes you, are taking such a major step in your developmental process.
Now back to me.
Individual growth and recognition are some skills that I have greatly been improving on since
I first started my time here at the University of New Haven. The campus community is excellent and I have grown to find a more positive approach to the vision I have of myself, something that would not have been possible if I stayed in my small hometown. If you haven’t already done it, I would suggest that you open yourself up to working with people of different backgrounds and cultures and see what they can teach you. Be willing to assist others when needed and don’t fight the change; rather, embrace it.