After college, most students that go to SUNY Plattsburgh go back to their hometowns or move to an area that has their dream jobs, but some decide Plattsburgh is where home is.
Jennifer Meschinelli, was a part of the class of 1998. She was an English major who was also editor in chief of Cardinal Points. When Meschinelli first came to Plattsburgh it was a culture shock. Born and raised in New Jersey, coming to Plattsburgh was an adjustment for her.
“I was going through six months of interviewing for this job where I would be traveling through Europe, but weeks before my last interview in Washington DC, I met my husband and I fell in love and decided to stay in Plattsburgh with him,” said Meschinelli.
Many alumni fell in love with how Plattsburgh reminded them of home while in school. The small town and the sense of community are familiar to most.
“Plattsburgh was the perfect town for me. It had the same type of feel that my hometown did. There were places to eat and shop and have fun, but not as many people, which was great for me,” said Toni Smith, class of 2000.
“I grew up in Plattsburgh, so I happen to know a little more details about what to do and where to find things, but I still feel like I shared the same experiences that other out-of-town college students had,” said Mayor Christopher Rosenquest, class of 2000.
However, the majority of alumni are from cities, so coming to Plattsburgh is a huge transition. From being surrounded by skylines and hearing noises out of your bedroom all night to the sounds of the leaves hitting the ground and stores closing before sunset, it can be hard to adjust.
“I think I learned how to slow down a bit. Long Island was very fast-paced for me, and I didn’t like that. I think we also learned what it means to be a good neighbor. We depend a lot on our neighbors up here.” said Meschinelli.
There is also a sense of safety that people feel in Plattsburgh, which people love. So much so, some decide to start a family here.
“Now I have three kids. One is a Plattsburgh State student, one is a PHS student and one is in elementary. I don’t worry about their safety.” said Jess Williams,’s class of 2003 and 2005 “The good thing about living in a small town is I have had the chance to make connections with people, and for the most part, people look out for each other. I don’t feel my family is in danger and I live a comfortable life.”
“A lot of people my age who grew up in Plattsburgh decided to move away for careers, but then came back because we realized Plattsburgh is a viable option to raise a family and help our hometown communities grow,” said Mayor Rosenquest.
Since Plattsburgh is a small town with a majority of white people, it can lack diversity.
“I was not happy at all. I made friends easily, but it was hard being away from home. I also didn’t see many people of color and in all scary honesty. Growing up in NYC I was used to a mixed bag of cultures and people, and I did not see that here.” said Williams.
“In Plattsburgh, I realized I live in a protected bubble, and I realized this more when 9/11 happened. My mom said I was the last person she worried about because I live in Plattsburgh,” said Meschinelli. “Also since it’s a small town, everyone is in everyone’s business, which is a good and bad thing, but there is a sense of community that I enjoyed.”
“There are times that I need to get away and experience the culture, it’s okay if people do not look like me or speak like me, don’t take things personally,” said Williams.
For the most part, SUNY Plattsburgh alumni who end up making this area their home love starting there lives here. Of course there are some downsides, but doesn’t every town have those?”