6 Things You Learn When You Move From A Small Town To a Big City


When I was a high school senior and trying to narrow down my top choice of college to attend, I knew one thing for sure: I was almost guaranteed to get some type of culture shock.

My hometown is a super small place located in West Texas. Do not take that previous statement lightly – I do not mean it sarcastically. The population of the entire town? A measly 3,225 people. I laugh whenever people from other towns say they had a “small” graduation class of 200 people when mine only had 46.

Once college move-in day arrived, I was an anxious mess. It didn’t officially hit me that I was moving to the 7th biggest city in the country until I looked into the rearview mirror of my Jeep while I was exiting off the interstate and saw an endless sea of cars behind me. Yikes.

However, after living in the big city for a couple of months, I have learned a few things.


1. There are a lot of people…. Everywhere.

You are constantly surrounded by people everywhere. Back in my hometown, if I needed to take my trash out, it was no big deal. I could walk outside in my pajamas and I wouldn't see a single soul. However, whenever I must take the trash out and leave the comfort of my dorm… I have to suck it up and put on a bra. Don’t judge!

2. Exposure to different things

While attending university, most students take it upon themselves to push the limits and express themselves in ways they never had the chance to before becoming an “adult.” The definition of self-expression is much different in my hometown compared to San Antonio. I’m not hating on my hometown, I love where I come from, but “self-expression” is basically nonexistent. San Antonio? That's a completely different story.

It makes my heart extremely happy to see people expressing themselves however they want, especially like the guy in my math class. I think he is wonderful! Most days he wears jeans and a t-shirt; however, his other go-to outfit of choice is high-heels, cut off jean shorts, and a crop top.       

3. You don’t know everyone around you

When driving around in my hometown, you recognize everyone. While passing someone on the road, it is almost guaranteed that you are either going to wave at them or give them the signature "one-finger lift" from the steering wheel. (Y’all know exactly what I am talking about). However, in San Antonio, you can't just walk into a restaurant and immediately strike up a conversation with someone you know.

4. Things are actually open after midnight!

This may make me seem extremely sheltered, but I still can't get over the amount of choices I have if I ever get a 2 a.m. craving. Whataburger, Taco Cabana, Mama Margie’s, Mi Tierra.. The list goes on! Back home, I was limited to one gas station that stays open after midnight. If I want to make a run to Walmart at 3 a.m. here, NOTHING CAN STOP ME! Except the weird "People of Walmart" that emerge after midnight. Oh, well. Safety in numbers.

5. Parking and traffic are a new kind of nightmare

I never realized how much I took light traffic and infinite parking spots for granted until I moved here. I’m still trying to figure out how UTSA has over 30,000 students and only about 8,000 parking spots on campus. It takes a lot of searching and some stalking of innocent people walking in the parking lot in order to find a spot. During the first week of living in San Antonio, I made the first (and only) mistake of not checking the time before I went somewhere and ended up stuck in 5 o’clock traffic. Never. Again.

6. You will always cherish where you came from!

San Antonio may be my home for now, but nothing beats going home for the weekend and seeing my parents and dogs, sleeping in my own bed, and eating home-cooked meals... and the occasional order of Steak Tacos from my favorite Mexican food restaurant.