Lifestyle: City vs. College Town

They’re both from rather rural areas, so Morgan Fortier and John Paul Thottam agreed they had to adjust to city life.

Fortier moved from a relatively small town in Pennsylvania about 30 miles outside of Amish Country to the most populous city in the United States.

“The place is leisurely, the people are warm, and the town shuts down at about 9 p.m.,” she said. “It is, you could say, the perfect inverse of New York City.”

Thottam, a northeastern Ohio native, agreed that moving to a big city took some getting used to.

“My life in Boston is different in every way imaginable than my life was in Ohio,” he said. “When I first moved into my freshman dorm, I was really uncomfortable by the tight spaces, having a roommate, and hearing ambulances and police cars outside my window all the time.”

Abby Kalen, a sophomore graphic design and advertising double major at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts, grew up in suburban Connecticut and said she quickly discovered city dorming comes with city problems — namely, rats and mice.

“Before moving in, I had heard that my residence hall was notorious for bugs and rodents,” she said. “But I thought, how bad could it be?”

Fast-forward one semester later, Kalen found herself in the middle of a major infestation.

“I didn’t just have a mouse or two,” Kalen said. “I had an infestation so bad they classified it as ‘unlivable’ and required me to switch rooms!”

However, once these students got acclimated to their new city surrounding, they began to fall in love with the urban lifestyle. Although her campus is spaced out in buildings throughout Manhattan, Kalen loves that her college is in New York City near Manhattan’s art district. Thottam appreciates the cultural diversity of Boston and seeing new, interesting people on a daily basis. A lover of art and fashion, Fortier believes her personality and ambitions are much better suited for the city.

“For that reason, I know I would be happiest living in an urban environment after graduation,” she said. “I can’t ever imagine permanently returning to my small hometown.”

Andrew Stanczuk loves living in Athens for his college years but agrees that he couldn’t picture himself moving to a small town permanently.

“Nothing can compare to the city’s nightlife,” he said. “Every weekend in a college town is the same thing but there’s always something new going on in New York.

The only set back?

“The prices!” Stanczuk said. “One semester at NYU costs more than a few years in Athens.”

For many students living in a college town, big city life is hard to imagine.

“I love that OU’s nightlife centers around Court Street,” Andrew Dolan said. “It gives Athens that college town feel.”

Some students like Zack Garrison, an Ohio University junior studying civil engineering, need that small town feeling.

“I grew up in a farming village made up of four main streets and two stop lights,” he said. “I’m from the middle of nowhere and never wanted that city life. Athens is great because, even though it’s small, there’s always something to do at night on campus.”

But most importantly?

“This little college town feels like home,” Garrison said.

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