Get Out Of Dodge Essay, Research Paper
Imagine the senior year of high school when students are poised to enter college and become adults. It’s a time of responsibility, of being on one’s own, and of shaping lives by making daily decisions. One of the most major decisions is where to attend college. Should a person stay close to home and attend an in-state school where people and even campuses are somewhat familiar? Or should the decision be to start a completely new chapter in one’s life by attending a college farther away, with totally new challenges? I believe the answer is definitely to leave and I can best verbalize this with a famous western saying: “Get out of Dodge.”
Of course, I can only speak from own experience to date. I thoroughly enjoyed high school and had excellent teachers who prepared me for entrance into the new world of college. My family and I discussed and received information from many schools, some of which I was totally unfamiliar with. My parents knew this was an important milestone in my life and therefore, arranged for a trip east to visit campuses and classes. That is how I chose to travel from my North Dakotan home to MIT, halfway across the nation. I had many reasons, one of which is obviously that MIT is one of the top schools in the nation, but another is that it is in the city of Boston. I am from Bismarck, North Dakota, a midwestern town of about 60,000 which I love, but I knew it was time for a new place with new experiences.
So far, I am only in my first semester of college, but I love it. I have met a whole new set of friends and find that things are always happening on campus and in the city. I was homesick for about the first week, but after that I never thought about being homesick again. I had too many interesting things to do. For the first time in my life, I could go and see a professional sports team play, see the Blue Man group, or just explore all the historic sites of Boston.
Over the Columbus Day break, I went home to Bismarck and realized that nothing had changed. Twenty of my friends met me at the airport and were excited to see me, as I was excited to see them. Through our few days together, I found out that they had remained friends with the same people from home and really hadn’t met anyone new. They had not all stayed in Bismarck, but everyone I saw over the Columbus Day weekend was attending college in North Dakota.
They told me that they thought college was not really any different than high school. Not only were their classes based on most of the same materials, but also the people and surrounding reminded them of high school. They hung out with the same people and did the same things on weekends.
I asked if they regretted their choice of school, and almost all of them told me that they didn’t until I told them how much I loved MIT and Boston and the new experiences I was having with people from all over the country and even the world. They wished that they could be going to school somewhere outside the Midwest.
Going to MIT really has made me grow as a person. I now have met and become friends with people from many different ethnic backgrounds. This was impossible for me to do at home in the mostly homogeneous city of Bismarck.
It’s not that North Dakota didn’t offer any experiences or lessons, but it couldn’t offer the same things as MIT. At MIT I have learned about some scientific breakthrough and then am taught it took place at MIT. Bismarck schools have no way of offering this much history and cutting edge technology. I am now where discoveries are made, and in a couple of years I can become part of this groundbreaking news.
This great transition also holds true when it is from urban to rural. While home over Columbus Day, I talked to the manager of a major retail store in Bismarck. He saw my MIT shirt and asked if that was where I was attending college. He was from New York City, and had gone to and loved Dartmouth partly because it was in a rural setting. He said he loved New York but thought the city wasn’t nearly as great as the freedom of the country. He said that he would choose Bismarck over any big city any day. If he had attended college in New York, he probably would have lived his entire life in a big city and never realized that he would enjoy a small city more. He equated smallness with new challenges and freedoms, much as I did in the move to a large city.
Obviously, there are many reasons people choose to stay close to their homes. Before I came east, I have to admit I was a bit worried about going to a big city. Many people told me how unsafe Boston would be and how much I would miss the safeness of Bismarck. That is not true. Although due to size and diversity, Boston has the makings of being more dangerous than Bismarck; overall Boston is not a dangerous place. I talked to people from Boston and asked if people got mugged very often and they said they never even thought about it happening.
The other side is also true. Big city people also have misconceptions about small cities, thinking they are always boring and there is nothing to do. That has never been the case with me: there are definitely always things to do in Bismarck. The difference lies in the fact that there are simply different things to do in a large city.
A small city can offer much more freedom. In Bismarck, anytime I wanted to get away, all I had to do was take a five to ten minute drive and I would be in the country. Bismarck also offers hunting, fishing, skiing, horseback riding, plus many other outdoor activities that it is very difficult for a large city to offer easily.
I believe that people should not only know about the other side of the spectrum, but they should live it. The complete change will be good for a person. It will give the person a new outlook. After living in both an urban setting and a country setting, a person can look at an experience from both sides. It has opened up my eyes to a new way of life.
Going away to college is a great way for people to meet new friends and experience new things. Usually a setting unlike their home will help them with both of these experiences. While this may not be true for everyone, I believe everyone should try living in an area unlike his or her own. This is what develops a person intellectually and socially.
It has been said that the grass is always greener on the other side. Being excited about the newness and challenges of a new place may not enable it to stay green for a lifetime, but the new place is a great place to spend the next four years. So even though I lived my whole high school life in one city where there were no actual problems, it still was time for me to move where there were new experiences and therefore I would “Get out of Dodge.”