I used to wish I wasn’t from a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania. I could be from, you know, New York.
(Spoiler: this weekend I’m moving to NYC to attend NYU!)
But in recent years, even though my primary communities are absolutely online, I’ve become really proud of where I’m from. Sure, it’s a small college town, & I live quite literally in the middle of a forest, but it’s awesome here. We have space here. In the summer, the sound outside is the cicadas in the trees. When it snows, it’s dead quiet.
I went to a public high school where plenty of kids are farmers.1 We have school off for deer hunting (actually).
As I’ve engaged more with my local community, I’ve become even more proud of it. My friends & I led a campaign to open gender-neutral bathrooms for all students at our high school. I’m part of a local LGBTQ+ youth group. Last winter I organized Hack Pennsylvania, a 111-person high school hackathon during a blizzard. Students drove from all over the state (even Maryland!) to come. What we made happen was totally unique.
Looking ahead at my life, the cities will always be there, bustling, & growing. I’m incredibly excited (if a little nervous) to go to NYC—it’s the place I most want to be at this stage of my life. But being able to come home under the trees, I wouldn’t trade that for anything else. It’s an incredible privilege.
It felt good to update my personal site the other day.
Proudly from Pennsylvania. Now based in NYC.