Saturday, February 25, 2017

California dreamin'


“Why did you come here?”

It’s always the first question I get when I tell people I’m from California. If I was paid a dollar for every time I was asked that, I could pay for the new student union building.

I’m from the City of Trees in Northern California, so before you even start to wonder here are some answers. No, I don’t surf; the closest beach is actually two hours away. No, unfortunately I don’t know see celebrities on a regular basis.

And for all you future Donald Trumps and Hilary Clintons out there, we’re not all democrats. You don’t cross the border into California and get handed a Prius to be environmentally friendly. Ironically enough, I do drive a Prius and I am a Democrat, but my Prius is from Pennsylvania and my town is mainly republican.

Sometimes, I like to have fun when people ask why I came to BU. I tell people things like, “I took a wrong turn on the way to Hollywood,” or “I threw a dart at a map and it hit Bloomsburg.” But, as you can imagine, I have no interest in sitting in three hours of LA traffic and I’m awful at darts, so neither are true.

It’s funny though because even though California is on the other side of the county, I’m not the only student to get that question on a regular basis. International and other out-of-state students are just as familiar with the big “why” question too. Whether you’re from Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Brazil, or Spain you’ve had at least one person look at you and go, “but, why?”

But on a real note, every student who comes to Bloomsburg from “far away” has his or her own fears. I’m not saying that people who come from nearby don’t have any worries at all; I’m not that ignorant or oblivious. But it’s a whole new ballgame when you decide to go to school where going home for the day really isn’t an option, and if it is, it’s a hike.

I’m sure my fears coming into my first year at Bloomsburg are the same as many other college students. Whether it was about making friends, getting along with my roommate, trying to figure where the hell my classroom in McCormick was, or just figuring out what to eat at Husky, I was stressed.

And to make matters even more stressful for a lonely, lanyard wearing, little freshman, driving home on the weekends or even during the week to see my family wasn’t an option.

But after two weeks of wandering McCormick, resident hall meetings, and late night buffalo chicken pizza, I was happy as a clam. I even felt bad for the students that went home every weekend because they were missing out on the personality BU students have to offer once classes finish on Friday. I could no longer run and hide to my parents when life got tough, instead I put on some gangster rap music, told myself I was strong independent woman, and pushed through it.

Now I’m not saying there weren’t any crying phone calls to my mom begging her to put my dogs on Facetime. I’m saying as scary as it is to say that I live three thousand miles away, it made me into a person that I only dreamt of being before. I branched out, kept my door open when I lived in the resident halls, yelled hi to people as they walked past, and I made an effort.

One opportunity that really helped me become more of an extrovert was applying to be an Orientation Workshop Leader. As an incoming first year or transfer, you’ll meet these people that don’t stop smiling, occasionally scream chants in your ears, and know every answer about BU that you really didn’t care to know. I met my first friend and an OWL and by applying to be one, I’ll have lasting friendships for the rest of my life.

I’ve been involved on campus in other areas too, but OWLs are students basically universal to all and when you come to visit BU for and Open House or Welcome Weekend, take advantage of these lunatics screaming and waving Pompoms. All in all, being an out-of-state student isn’t as scary as it sounds and you’re not as crazy as people think you are for leaving your state or country behind. It’s an opportunity to experience college without any strings attached and learn for yourself, who you want to be.

— Hannah Miller, junior history major and defender on the Huskies women's soccer team #HuskyLife

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