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Notes On Moving to Pittsburgh

    I come from a small town in Pennsylvania called Oil City. When I say small, I’m talking maybe 10,000 people total, but even that’s a stretch (and constantly dwindling). I had lived there for about ten years before making the transition to Chatham, so Pittsburgh is an entirely new world to me. I mean, living where frozen yogurt shops, tattoo parlors, art supply stores, several hotels, and countless restaurants are within walking distance? Practically unheard of for me. The most I ever had in walking distance was a library, a CVS (where I was one of the very few employees under the age of 40), and a couple small parks. So Pittsburgh has taken a bit of adjustment to get used to, to say the least.

    The biggest difference I’ve noticed between small-town life and living in a bigger city is the pace of things. Around here, things are always moving. There are quiet, peaceful spots where you can unwind and just observe your surroundings, especially on and near campus, like the brick road on Murray Hill Avenue or the pond; but there are also places always filled with bustling activity. A quick stroll down Fifth Avenue has more sights, sounds, and smells than my humble hometown. Even just the bus system fascinates me because it’s so different from what I am used to. I feel that I’ve grown up and matured quite a bit since coming here and that it is not just the college experiences I’ve had so far that have had this effect but living in this new environment.

    Not only is the ‘Burgh much busier than I am used to, but the type of people here are a wholly different breed than the norm for Oil City. I had resigned myself for so long to just not speaking up about politics or any issues involving world events, local events, or anything at all, really. Living in a predominantly conservative area means that no one really wants to hear from me. Here, things are different. I can surround myself with like-minded people who want the same things and want to live in a similar way. Instead of relying on the familiarity of a small hometown to guide my daily life, I am growing into the excitement of living in a city where I can truly be who I want to be, go to events that interest me and give me a sense of community, and live the way I want to. Of course, I am excited to visit my hometown when I have the chance to see friends and family – because, after all, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Oil City – but I am beyond thrilled to no longer be living there, and instead building my own life in Pitt.

As much as I love Oil City, I don’t believe that it’s the best fit for me. I had always dreamt of moving away and going to college in a big city where no one knew me. Now that I have done exactly that and am setting up roots here, I couldn’t be happier. I am thrilled to see what Chatham University and the city of Pittsburgh have to offer me for the next five years I will be spending here.


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