Like many of my classmates, I grew up in a suburb. I spent the majority of my life in this familiar setting before transitioning to a new place. For my undergrad education, I chose to attend Ferris State University in rural Big Rapids, MI. With that move came unfamiliar territory, countless new people and names, overwhelming information at orientation… as well as a lot of fun. I think that when most of us look back to our undergraduate transitions, we admit that they had challenges, but obviously, we managed.
When I moved to college, I was in culture shock. Ferris State was in the middle of nowhere, it seemed. There were a couple of restaurants, a few bars, two hotels, and one or two places to shop. We did have a Meijer and a Wal-Mart, though. Also, the nearest big city was Grand Rapids (an hour drive away.) In addition to this remoteness, if I wanted to do any banking, I had to drive 20 minutes East to the nearest town where a branch of my bank was located.
After spending three years in Big Rapids, I am now in Chicago. This again has been a culture shock- however, a different kind of one. Instead of going to a small town with limited options, Chicago seems to be limitless with what the city has to offer.
Some of my classmates are experiencing- and will continue to experience- this same culture shock. All of the Canadian students have to deal with setting up new bank accounts, handling a new monetary system, dealing with new terms and phrases (my personal favorite is the discrepancy between “writing” a test and “taking” one) in addition to becoming accustomed to the crowded city life of Chicago. To all of my classmates from the West coast and Southern states, prepare yourselves: Winter is coming.
Many students may even be in the same boat as myself. I know of a couple classmates that came from small towns (such as Big Rapids) and are now in the third most populated city in the United States.
The point is, this is a time of transition for us all. We all had to have gone to college, or we wouldn’t be here, and we all had to transition to that. Once again, we are dealing with unfamiliar territory, countless new people and names, overwhelming information at Orientation, as well as a lot of fun. And again, we will manage. Some of us may have come from a state or two away, while others have moved across the country or continent. Nonetheless, it all adds to the ICO experience.