Many people are defined by their family, past experiences, or by how much money they own; for me location is a major defining factor of who I am as a person. Geography can determine ones accent, characteristics, and one’s human nature. For many, a geographic location can hold a distinct meaning that may influence ones entire lifestyle, culture, and habits. Rockingham, North Carolina is a small town surrounded by three other smaller towns that make up what is known as Richmond County. This small hole in the wall of approximately ten thousand residents is what I consider to be my home, my special place, my saving grace. People in these types of towns share similar morals and values of living simply and cordially. Small towns impose a sense of security, simplicity, and belonging that can mold an individual into who and what they will become.
Unlike the big cities filled with noisy traffic, bright lights, and tall buildings, my home town is overtaken by beautiful fields and farmland. The few restaurants and shopping centers here all close on Sunday while families bond the old fashioned way. Whether you are sitting in church, school, or making a late night run to a local convenience store, you are embraced by those same familiar faces that you have known your entire life. There is one high school in the whole county, Richmond Senior High school, where many generations have attended year after year. It is this particular place that has been an extreme importance in shaping me into the person I am today. It is the Friday night football games where the stands are filled with the cheers and chants of supporting fans and how the entire county shuts down to support the community for any event that truly makes this place so dear to my heart.
There is a never a time when one would feel alone or misplaced in a community such as mine. The friendships that are built here are bonds that are never broken no matter how far away one may travel or stray. One particular friendship that comes to mind when I think about life time bonds is one with a girl I met when I began High school. High school can be a traumatic experience filled with tyrants, worldly pressures, and high expectations from everyone around you. When meeting Madison my freshman year as we both sat the bench for our school’s Varsity soccer team, I knew then that I had made an enduring companionship that would help me through my high school struggles. Harping upon the fact that the relationships made in this small, quaint little town, Madison and I are not only still best friends, but college roommates here at Wingate University.
Again, coming from such a small location can allow one to shape relationships and connections with people that will last for a lifetime. Teachers at my high school not only taught, but served as counselors that would drop what they were doing to provide support for one of their students. While taking a general elective class, I developed a relationship with one particular teacher that led me to finding my place in this world. Mrs. Sims inspired me in such a way that I chose to peruse nursing as a career. My connection along with her many connections with others in the medical field, led me to scoring an internship at a local orthopedics office. While working with one of the physician’s assistants there, I gained knowledge and hands on experience that I could project later into my college career. Only in small towns like this can you find even professionals that are personable enough to build real relationships that help one discover or reach their lifelong aspirations.
Also, Richmond County has stimulated a desire in me to become more than a small town girl, but to become an independent, well-known, successful young woman. Both of my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on have all lived in Rockingham for most of their life. Each generation has gone through the same life routine of working Monday through Friday, church on Sunday, and coming home to good ole southern home-cooked meal each and every night. A lot of times in small towns like this one, especially for my family, college is not exactly a vital priority or goal that one has. Both my mother and father did not further their education after graduating high school. People from these types of areas feel such a feeling of security most times that they become discouraged from stepping out of their comfort zones and pursuing further learning. Coming from a family in which this describes, I desired to venture out of Richmond County and achieve what my parents had failed to do. This encouraged me into becoming a more liberated and ambitious individual in all aspects of my life.
I had the idea that I would move away to the queen city of Charlotte North Carolina, get my own apartment, and attend the University of Charlotte. I desired to start a new life far away and as different from my home town as possible, a city with buzzing traffic and a population twenty times as big as what I was used to. While touring the University of Charlotte, along with many other large division one schools, I realized that my small town back ground would forever stick with me. I kept with me those morals of southern hospitality that I would not be able to find in a larger city such as this one.
Living in a slow paced location for eighteen years has enabled me to appreciate the simpler things in life that Charlotte would not be able to provide me. After discovering myself and finding what I truly sought after for the remainder of my college career, I decided to attend a smaller private college, Wingate University. I found that this University, much like my high school at home, was filled with people that attained the same values, goals, and morals as I. The small class population, the way that the professors remember your name and strive to help, and the ever so conversant faces harped upon me that acquainted feeling of belonging and ease that I was accustomed to at home.
Each experience I have witnessed in my special little small town has precast and reformed me into the appreciative, sovereign, personable, and humble person that I am today. Geography can significantly shape and change one’s life completely and can even be the deciding factor in the decisions made each day. My small town of Rockingham, North Carolina has had such a momentous impact on my life and life decisions. It has brought upon me many remarkable friendships and bonds with people, and has led me to where I am today and will be in the future. Location once again can embark on one so many extraordinary experiences and feelings that will forever remain in a person’s heart.
Courtney from Study Moose
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