First Year Reflection: Transitioning from Living in a Small Town to Living in the Big Apple

I decided to interview my awesome roommate, Kris Ahn, on the topic of transitioning from living in a small town to now living in NYC as a college student. Here's her take on attending school in one of the greatest cities in the world! 

Where are you from originally?

Kris: I am from a small town called Camas, Washington. It is on the border of Washington State and Oregon. The town is quite affluent with very little diversity so it narrowed the perspectives I saw. I really enjoyed my town growing up and loved all my teachers, but I wanted diversity in the next portion of my life. I knew that college was a great opportunity to seek out a new array of perspectives and people.

When you applied to colleges, did you look specifically for schools out of state?

Kris: Yes, when I applied I only applied to one school in state and another one nearby in California, out of 14 overall schools. A definite majority of those schools resided in the east coast. I was definitely looking for a change.

Upon your acceptance to Barnard, how did you feel about moving across the country for college?

Kris: I was really excited up until the week before I actually moved because all of sudden I got a huge rush of nerves (which, I think, is totally normal). My hometown was heavily surrounded by nature and I loved that because I really enjoy hiking and camping, however, I knew I was obviously not going to be surrounded by nature as a student living in New York City. I also knew, however, that I wanted to live in a diverse city with art, culture, and food and that nature was always going to be there whenever I visited home.

"I felt this anxiety because I knew New York City was the antithesis of where I came from." -- Kris Ahn
A picture Kris took whilst backpacking with some friends in Camas, Washington last summer. 

A picture Kris took whilst backpacking with some friends in Camas, Washington last summer. 

What do you expect New York City to be like before actually moving in? Were these speculations proven to be true?

Kris: Well I visited New York City -- Manhattan specifically - a couple of times before moving here for college so I kind of knew what to expect. I thought New York would be very expensive, crowded, and extremely loud all throughout the day. It turns out all of these assumptions were true, but none of them completely negate the positives of the city!

There were also several opportunities to see and make art on campus, visit exhibitions and musicals, and get in touch with the activist scene on campus which was really important to me. Despite all the buzz and craze of New York City, I still found a lot of time for myself to decompress through stress-free events hosted by First Year Council and also getting off campus and exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art on my days off.

A picture Kris captured midway through the Women's March in NYC! 

A picture Kris captured midway through the Women's March in NYC! 

Do you experience homesickness? If so, what are your tips to alleviate this feeling?

Kris: I miss people from my hometown more than I actually miss my town *laughs*. You know, because the people make up the town, but missing things and people is just a natural and healthy part of moving. The best way to combat homesickness is to keep in touch with the people you miss. I still talk to my best friend everyday whether it be through Snapchat or text message. It’s really important to maintain your old relationships while still taking the time to make new ones. 

"If you and your friends make an effort to stay in contact, then the people who truly matter to you will stay in your life." -- Kris Ahn
Kris (far right) with some Barnard pals at Webster Hall attending a Saint Motel concert. 

Kris (far right) with some Barnard pals at Webster Hall attending a Saint Motel concert. 

As a second semester first year, what have you enjoyed about living in New York City and attending college here?

Kris: I really enjoy always having something to do. I love my small classes because I am given the opportunity to engage with my professors - who are all amazingly accomplished and cool people. Barnard College is a little removed from the chaos of midtown, which is great, because I can find peace in an academic setting but still hop on the local 1 train and make my way downtown for some time off school. I love taking advantage of the discounted tickets for comedy shows, movies, and musicals offered at our campus’ bookstore because it's the perfect chance to really explore New York for all that it has to offer.

"The transition can be rough at times, but I honestly would not want it any other way." -- Kris Ahn

Best, 

Hagir 

Inside the Barnard Chemistry Labs

Inside the Barnard Chemistry Labs

Senior Reflections: Going to College in New York City

Senior Reflections: Going to College in New York City