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Pros and Cons of Growing Up in a Small Town

Growing up in a small town is something that is often either romanticized or seen as absolutely dreadful. As someone who spent 18 years growing up in a small Southern town, and with a well-known family, I can definitely see both sides of this argument. Whether you loved or hated living in a small town, you’ll definitely agree with my pros and cons listed below. If you’re thinking of moving to a small town and grew up in a larger area, you should definitely prep yourself for the information listed below:

Let’s start with the bad news…

  1. Everyone knows you. Yes, everyone. I am seriously not kidding. There’s no going to Walmart in your pajamas and hoping you don’t bump into anyone. You might even want to get dressed to grab your mail from outside. If you missed service on Sunday, everyone takes note. Making mistakes? They’ll practically be written down in the town’s history books.

  2. There isn’t much to do. Sure, Hallmark movies are cute and all, but have you noticed that the people in those small villages seriously spend a lot of time indoors? This may be welcoming and home-y during the holiday season, but spending 365 days a year inside can be quite dreadful. A fun day out with friends in a small town may consist of you going to the one Walmart and walking the aisles for fun (in between greeting everyone in the store because you know them all). Or perhaps, you’ll go to the neighborhood restaurant. Which could get a little awkward if your ex works there, or if it’s also your place of work. Not to mention the greeting everyone issue. Point being, if you want a fun day-cation, you’re driving out of town.

  3. A career may be hard to come by, or not possible. In a place where there isn’t much to do, there certainly are not many places to find nice jobs or careers. As an English major who does not want to be a teacher, there are practically no options and moving back home after college is not much of an option unless I’m living with my parents forever and going back to that same neighborhood restaurant. 

  4. Drama, drama, drama. This may seem like something that was confronted in the first bullet point, but seriously, it needs its own separate reference. Everyone knowing everything about everyone else seriously creates a lot of drama and tension. “Did you hear she’s dating her ex?” “I think she belongs to *insert political party or group of people.*” “What would her parents think of that?” “I’m going to tell her mother.” “Did you see what she posted on Facebook?” These statements are really never-ending and if you’re not a big fan of gossip and not good at switching the conversation, a small town may not always be your cup of tea.

But it’s not all bad…

  1. Everyone knows you. I know what you’re thinking.. “wasn’t that a bad thing?” Yes. And no. Everyone knowing you can definitely cause drama and be frustrating. You may feel trapped or like you can never make mistakes, but it can also be quite charming. For example, I recently launched a blog and I’m studying abroad in Ireland this semester. Since I’m very far away from my small town, I’ve been posting regular updates on Facebook to keep everyone updated and the outpouring of love and support has been phenomenal. These people are all like an extended family and they really care about your growth and how your life is going! There can be gossip and drama, but most people really just want what is best for you.

  2. The neighborhoods can be Hallmark-esque. Holiday seasons and times of tragedy definitely mimic the style of support and community gathering as a Hallmark movie would portray. In small towns, people really know when to band together. They help the sick and the afflicted with an outpour of giving and love in towns like mine and they celebrate holiday seasons in a fun, clean way as you would see in movies. 

Small towns definitely have their good and bad qualities. Although many people value privacy and despise small town life, others thrive in the communal mindset and cute neighborhoods. It definitely takes some self-reflecting to decide what kind of environment you are best in, but there will be advantages and disadvantages in any region.