The smell of fresh rain hitting the concrete sidewalk; the thrill of jaywalking to cut corners and save an imperative 10 seconds; pointing out your favorite restaurant when watching “Sex and the City.” These are all small pleasures that are especially appreciated when a city-dweller from New York City is in a very different environment like Elon, N.C., a small college town whose population is roughly 7,060. But some adjustments become the preferred ways of life and are seen as luxuries after returning to the fast-paced, inconsiderate city.
Stereotypical Southerners are painfully kind as they say “hello” with their Southern drawls. No man will ever go through a door before a lady who is 20 steps behind him – he will hold the door open and smile patiently. Walking down the street is no longer a time to pull out your cell phone and send text messages to friends in order to avoid eye contact.
Although there are some benefits to southern living, there are some difficulties that make someone from the city homesick. There is no way that one can go to the bank, grocery store, nail salon and gym in one stop, but in New York, that is the norm. The convenience of proximity and ability to walk places in a timely fashion are luxuries that every New Yorker covets.
Another concern is getting to all of the previously mentioned stops with limited and inexpensive transportation. The constant demand to borrow cars is a burden to car-owning students both in gas costs and accident possibilities. Coming from a city whose subway, bus and taxi systems are all extremely efficient, this comes as a financial and timely adjustment.
Manhattan freshman Victoria Selover discussed her difficulty adapting to Elon.
“Elon is a suburban or rural town compared to New York City, which is a metropolis,” Selover said. “There’s no way to compare. Elon is extremely limited.”
Elon does not offer cultural opportunities like Broadway shows, different types of restaurants, world-famous museums and Central Park. The “fast-food capital of the nation,” as she describes Elon, does not equate to the endless culinary options of New York.
Still, she finds some of the changes preferred to the norms of New York.
“I feel like I’m always in a rush, but the people here revel in the calmness,” she said.
College is a time to completely restart your life. No matter what changes you are looking forward to or dreading, there will always be a comfort in returning home to the familiar. And after getting hit with a door a few times by the person in front of you who did not hold it open, a New Yorker will fondly remember the days of Southern gentlemen.