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Making the transition from Amish country to Long Island

By Natalia Dutt, Special to The Chronicle

Almost every college freshman looks forward to that time where they finally get out of the house and embark on the next journey in life. People travel near and far to start on this adventure.

For me, it all started in Amish country, Ohio, a place so small that everyone knows each other's names. I have wanted to leave that place for the longest time and go somewhere completely different, somewhere big. That is the whole point of college, right?

When the time came around to apply for college, I felt that New York was calling my name! I was accepted into Hofstra and was beyond excited. The chance to leave my small town for somewhere so close to New York City was both exhilarating and nerve-racking. A high school graduate of a class of only 15 people, I knew it was going to be different coming to such a big school. I did not realize, however, quite how different it would be.  

I have seen so many differences in moving from Amish country to New York. I used to pass buggies and farms to get to school; now I just see hundreds of beeping cars. As far as the transitioning from a high school student to a college student, that has been pretty weird too. Going from having crazy rules set by parents to nothing at all is the weirdest of all. No one tells us not to stay out late, not to ‘go here' or to ‘go there.' The complete freedom is fantastic.

To be honest, it is very different from what I expected. Coming from a place that is so structured, a place where people do church activities for fun, to a place where New York City is pretty much at your fingertips, there is obviously a giant difference. To my surprise, I was extremely nervous to leave my friends and family. I know nothing about making my way around the city's subway system. I thought for sure I was going to get lost or go nowhere fun. Luckily, Hofstra came to the rescue. Every Welcome Week activity made it so much easier to adjust. Every trip to the city made it easier to get to know the surrounding area as well as the city.

Coming from Amish country to somewhere like this will always be a hard transition. No matter how much new college students would rather deny it, it is going to be a difficult change leaving behind everything they used to. In order to avoid homesickness here in New York, it is so important to take every opportunity to go out to the city to know the surroundings.

For new freshmen, do not be afraid to leave your roommates to explore the world around our campus. The transition will not be easy if you just sit in your room. Going out to just meet people in your building is a way to make friends and make the transition easier. Even though I have yet to explore the city of Hempstead, by making friends I have made it easier to switch from Amish Country to the city!

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