OPINION: It’s a small world after all

Adriona Murphy

Adriona Murphy

My hometown looks like something straight out of a Hallmark movie: A quaint little Main Street lined with trees and local shops, kids riding their bikes and people jogging with their dogs.

It all sounds so fake, but that’s really what it looks like. It’s not even big enough to be considered an actual city — it’s a village with a little over 5,600 people. Everyone knows everyone. If something happened to one person, everyone would know within a day or two.

For me, nothing has really changed. I grew up in the same town, went to the same school, lived in the same house and slept in the same room my entire life. I met most of my best friends in either preschool or kindergarten. Several of my teachers had my mom in class as a student as well. Change, needless to say, was something I was not familiar or comfortable with.

From the time I was about 13, I constantly heard my peers talk about how much they hated it and how they couldn’t wait to move away from this place. Honestly, everyone hated it. I spent a lot of time “hating” it too, trying to explain to people why I couldn’t stand that tiny town and all the people in it.

But in reality, I don’t think it was so bad. Yeah, there were bad things that happened: the cliques, gossipy neighbors, ridiculous he-said/she-said drama, the boredom, that kind of thing. When I think back on it, I’m glad I grew up where I did.

I realize I was very lucky. The town was small, but we were only a 30-minute drive from Columbus. We lived in a bubble, but it was pretty easy to pop it if you wanted to go out and experience more than what was in town. The area was very safe, to the point of our parents dropping us off downtown and leaving us to our own devices until the sun went down or curfew was up.

When I decided to go away for school, I thought the transition was going to be hard. I was absolutely terrified about leaving home (although, if you asked anyone else, they’d tell you I couldn’t wait, but I was really good at pretending.) I cried on move-in day and got homesick every once in a while, but in reality, it wasn’t that bad.

Every once in a while, I see glimpses of my hometown here in Kent. Maybe that’s what influenced me to go here instead of Ohio State or Cincinnati. I was more comfortable going from one college town to another (I just got lucky this town was two and a half hours from home.)

Yes, there are significantly more people, but the overall vibe is the same. I still see people running with their dogs, both on campus and downtown. I still see kids riding their bikes into town and around the neighborhoods. There are still plenty of local shops to visit. And, yes, somehow everyone kind of knows each other. But we love it.

All the “bad” things you experience in a small town, you can experience anywhere. Whether it’s a college campus, big city or small village of 5,600, it’s all about looking at the advantages of the situation.

And when I look at them, I don’t think small-town living seems so bad.

Adriona Murphy is the opinion editor. Contact her at [email protected].