It’s a Small World After All? (Personal Narrative Rough Draft)

October 6th, 2016

“So where are you from?” asked Karissa as we were walking out of the Olsen Student Center. I was already used to giving the spiel on my hometown that hardly anybody knows of. I knew that she was from Omaha, so I assumed she would have never heard of Alta, Iowa. Whenever I describe my hometown I almost always have to say the biggest town next to it with the smallest bit of hope that they at least recognize that.

“I live an hour east of here. It’s called Alta. Have you heard of Storm Lake? It’s right next to there.”

“Sorry never heard of it,” Karissa replied apologetically.

It’s always exciting for me when someone has heard of my hometown and even knows a person from there. Karissa doesn’t really have that dilemma like I do.

“To me Sioux City seems like a big place. The student population of Morningside is like the size of my hometown,” I explained in a sort of joking manner even though that’s actually the way it was.

Karissa’s blue eyes widened as her jaw dropped.  “Oh my gosh seriously?” she exclaimed. Our pace down the sidewalk towards Dimmitt stayed steady.”Wow that’s crazy!” To me it doesn’t seem crazy. That’s a view on Morningside that she’ll never have.

Coming from a town with a population of just under 2,000, Sioux City seems like foreign territory. Any place with more than one Walmart, I consider huge. To travel five miles in Sioux City takes longer than it does back home, since you’d be out of the town in less than five miles anyway. The only traffic jam I was used to encountering was red or green farm machinery on the black top. As I pass them, the farmer always lifts a few fingers off from the top of the slender steering wheel to acknowledge me whether they knew me or not. In Sioux City everyone seems to be competing for the right away and lanes and gives the finger instead of a friendly wave. I’m viewing this new lifestyle from a small town perspective and am quickly learning that a lot of students have the same insecurities I do, while others don’t based on where they were from.

One of the reasons I chose to come to Morningside was because of the small class sizes. The biggest class I had in High School was around 25-30 and smallest class I ever had consisted of three. The sizes are similar at Morningside. I like that I know everybody, and can name where many are from, what their major is and what activities they are involved in whether I’m close friends with them or not. I also enjoy having the same one on one relationships with my instructors like I did in High School. The feeling of belonging and acceptance is the icing on the cake.

I feel comfortable with Morningside because of the small close-knit community vibe it gives off. Other students have similar views as me, but some have completely different views that I will never fully be able to relate to.

The time were I felt the most out of place in Sioux City was when I was attending a Leadership Conference at the Sioux City Convention Center. I had been to conventions before and was used to being in an atmosphere with lots of dressed up people. The part that I wasn’t used to was just getting to the Convention Center.

I sat buckled up in the back seat behind my two friends who occupied the drivers and passenger seats. It was our Freshman year and all three of us were from small towns, mine being the biggest. We navigated our way through multiple lanes of traffic and one-ways streets to get to the Convention Center. To our disappointment, the designated parking lot was already filled up. We were directed towards a towering parking garage just across the street. We had no idea how parking garages worked.

“Where’s the entrance? How much does it cost? Who has money? Do we pay right away or after? Has anybody been in one of these things before? AAHHH!!!” These were phrases that got all jumbled up as the three hysterical girls expressed our concerns simultaneously. We eventually found the entrance and wound around multiple levels until we found a spot in the dark creepy lot. In the back of my mind I was thinking about violent scenes in movies in TV shows that take place in parking garages. I even made the comment to my peers, “I can’t imagine going to work and then having to pay for parking everyday”.

Another student who can relate to my small town upbringing is Kelsey Brenner. She is from a town of 800. Brenner describes that coming to Morningside didn’t feel like a big deal to her because she was already familiar with a small school environment. “Morningside is its own little community within a town,” Brenner added to the list of things she liked about Morningside. “I have a better chance to build relationships with peers and professors [compared to a big school]”.

Sioux City itself is what makes her feel uncomfortable. Driving downtown is a whole new experience for her, especially with the overwhelming amount of road construction. Brenner has felt the most out of place in Sioux City when it comes to being taken off guard by so many left-turn-only lanes.

It’s nice to have someone like Kelsey to relate my new experiences with. On the other hand it’s interesting to learn how students from big cities feel about coming to what they consider a small town and school.

Karissa Heckens is clearly astonished on how I view life in Sioux City. I also find it interesting to hear her point of view. She describes that when she first moved to Sioux City, she had to adjust to the lower speed limits and that everything is more residential than Omaha. “It wasn’t a huge shock, but it was kind of an annoyance at first that I had to get used to ,” said Heckens.

Heckens says that Morningside is about half the size of her High School. Despite the size difference she loves that the class sizes are small so that she can get to know professors and fellow classmates better. She likes how their is more opportunity for discussion and activities that you wouldn’t have in a bigger class. “At Morningside, I haven’t really felt that out of place because of the size. Even though there are less people, the campus is a decent size.”

Our hometown lifestyles can influence our point of view when it comes to new places and experiences.  When you encounter someone with a lifestyle different from yours, instead of judging them, see what you can learn from them. In this case, I learned about how students perceive college life in Sioux City differently. Even though not all of us share the same hometown experiences, everyone seemed satisfied with pursuing their education at Morningside College.


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