There’s no place like Whitewater

March 8, 2016

I’ve spent my entire life in the Midwest. All I’ve ever known is flat lands, cows and the occasional farm here and there. It may make sense that all I’ve ever wanted is to see a big city.

I’d encourage all students to travel to a big city at least once, because it provides a new perspective – one you might not expect.

Column by  Emily Leclaire Assistant Sports Editor
Column by
Emily Leclair
Assistant Sports Editor

Don’t get me wrong, I love the country and the small towns I’ve grown up calling home, but I always wanted to live in a big city.

Whitewater wasn’t big enough for me, and I felt like the rest of the world was just passing me by. I thought I was ready to leave all my friends behind, to say goodbye to my family and start a life far away from the only place I’ve ever really known.

I flew to Denver, Colorado to visit a friend who had recently graduated from UW-Whitewater. I couldn’t wait to see what a real “downtown” looked like. I thought I was heading into this crazy bar scene, like the ones you only see in movies and TV shows.

And, in a way, I did. That big city I dreamt of and longed for was right in front of me. I was standing right in the middle of it, but something was missing.

The city lights were as bright as ever, and the taxis and cars were rushing by; the sound of traffic that reminds you the city really doesn’t sleep.

While looking up at the city buildings, taking in the city life, it all hit me when I looked to my left and then to my right. I knew what was missing: my best friends, my people.

Bar hopping was not the same. I couldn’t walk in and automatically know every person there – a feeling that had become so familiar and regular that I’d started to take it for granted.

I still want that big city life, but Whitewater will always be home, and I no longer see it as something that is holding me back. It may not be a big world here, but it’s my world.

I was proud to share the small town bar stories with people who couldn’t understand how you can go to a bar and know everyone. I met so many people with so many different stories; everyone had come from one city or another.

But they can keep their big cities with people they’ll never meet again, and I’ll take my small town with friends who have become more than family.

Going to a big city like Denver is eye-opening and overwhelming, but it makes you appreciate something you might be taking for granted; your small town and the family you’ve made there. 

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