Everything a Jersey girl from the shore has learned from going to college in the city!
I was born in Toms River, New Jersey, which is a quick ten-minute drive to the shore. I grew up on the beach in Seaside Park and have so many great memories of sitting on H street beach with my family or summer nights walking the boardwalk with my friends. I love where I’m from, which made it hard to leave when the time came to look at colleges. I was afraid it would be hard for me to adjust to a new environment. After many months of deliberation, however, I decided to push myself and go to Temple University in the heart of Philadelphia. And while I have really enjoyed my time here, my inner Jersey girl has definitely noticed some major differences.
Philadelphia is so diverse, and I have learned a lot about the community. I love meeting new people and learning about different cultures. Back in Toms River, there is more diversity in the summer when people come to vacation, but for the rest of the year, it’s a classic small town. Toms River was the only place I had ever lived, so experiencing the diversity of the city has been so exciting!
I have never seen more ambitious people than here in Philadelphia. Everyone walks with a sense of urgency and makes it their mission to get to where they need to be; Since moving to Philadelphia, I have learned to just go. This is something I actually like about the city. I’m a very impatient person, so it is fitting to be in an environment where everything is so fast-paced. And when it comes to the one thing Toms River and Philadelphia have in common, it’s the drivers. New Jersey drivers have a (well-deserved) reputation for being fast and impatient, and I’d say city drivers are just as bad.
Witnessing city fashion has been so much fun. I love seeing cool outfits around campus. Philadelphia fashion is trendy and bold, and people aren’t afraid to take risks. Everyone is free to express themselves. At the beach, people often dress in boho fashion or prioritize comfort over style. For the most part, everyone dresses the same. At home I always struggled with my style and never knew what would look good on me, which resulted in me wearing the same five outfits over and over again. Living in the city has encouraged me to think outside the box and try new things. I have definitely added more than a few new pieces to my wardrobe!!
I’m going to keep this one simple as there really is no contest: New Jersey pizza is better. New Jersey pork roll, egg and cheese sandwiches are better. New Jersey bagels are better. And there is nothing like a good old-fashioned New Jersey diner.
Now that New Jersey’s culinary supremacy has been established, I will say that I have enjoyed the city’s food. There are so many different options and amazing restaurants to try in Philly. So far I have only been to a few in Center City, but I love trying new things and am always open to recommendations.
Overall, living in the city has changed me in the best ways. I’ve gained confidence and motivation, and I feel inspired by everything around me. I chose Temple because I felt I needed to establish my independence by living in a city, and I’m glad I didn’t play it safe. This city has helped me grow into the type of person I have always wanted to be.