By: Zackery Silvas
The ability to live in Southern California is a blessing. From lounging on the beach to hitting up LA on the weekends, there is always something to do. The thought that I would ever leave California for an extended amount of time was once crazy to me. However, when I decided to come to Greenville University for four years, it seemed that the crazy would become reality. I gave up my big city life for a small town, and it’s a decision I don’t regret. In the last three years, I have adjusted well to the surroundings of Greenville and the Midwest. I hope my story can encourage people who are moving from a comfortable home to a new environment that might seem foreign or frightening.
In the summer of 2015, I realized that my life would change in a couple of months, when I would have to leave sunny southern California for a humid and hot midwestern town and begin fall football camp. I had never visited Greenville, so I didn’t have a clue about what I was going to walk into. So when August 7 came, I knew it was time to start a new chapter in my life. Reality started to set in when I no longer saw buildings, but instead miles and miles of cornfields. I knew that from that point on this was going to be a unique (and, I thought, horrible) life experience. On my end, I should have done my research to see what I was getting myself into. If it would have been easy to get a flight the next day to go back home, I would have done it. I stuck it out. But once I got through the first semester and went home for winter break, I felt the need to transfer. I didn’t like the environment I had put myself into and I did not like how small Greenville was. However, I told myself that I needed to give my school a try and make the best out of it. After I had finished my freshman year, my mindset had completely changed. I can credit a lot of things that helped me change my mind and helped me find a home in Greenville. From the smallest to the biggest things, they can help you shape yourself for better living in a small town.
Adjusting to small town life is all about finding the right people to hang out with. Being in a small town, faces become familiar, and new ones are rare. Go out of your way to attend events and mingle with people—this is much easier if you are a college student. When you find the right people, it becomes much easier to settle down and not spend your time longing for home. Small towns usually don’t have much to do, so I would recommend exploring other cities to find adventures. When I first came to Greenville, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do the things I was able to do when I was back at home, like go eat at In-N-Out and or go to the beach. So when my friends and I weren’t busy, we would take drives to see what we could do outside of Greenville. St. Louis is a great option, especially since it is only an hour away. It’s hard to run out of things to do in such a big city. Getting familiar with different areas outside the small town should help you assimilate much more easily.
To adjust to a new move or a big life change, you need to step outside your comfort zone. It took time for me, and it takes time for everyone. Even if it’s for a period of time, home will always be there when you get back. Embracing new experiences in life is very beneficial, and it allows us to explore places we’ve never been. If you are having a hard time adjusting, remember that we all go through it at one time or another, and try to carve out a new home for yourself in the new environment.