Flying over Ohio, the diversity within the state is obvious. I can see a huge football stadium filled with 100,000 seats, and just to the left are miles and miles of cornfields.
I knew that attending one of the biggest universities in the nation would enable a variety of experiences and interactions with diverse people and I was excited about the opportunity.
Upon landing in Columbus, I immediately noticed a number of differences from my hometown in Long Island, New York. Starting from people with much nicer driving habits, to having classmates with diverse social and political opinions, and of course subpar pizza (probably the biggest difference).
People from across the country, with completely different upbringings soon became my friends, and my eyes opened to a slew of experiences that I feel so lucky to have had.
I love that everything I could need in a school is within 15 minutes of my sorority house.
Driving east, I quickly reach downtown Columbus; a city filled with rich history, a deep appreciation for the arts, beautiful parks, and unique shopping, dining and entertainment.
I can spend weekends in the developing city exploring modern art galleries, seeing live shows or tasting food from all over the world, the same way I can indulge in New York City.
However, driving the opposite direction, I am overwhelmed with the simplicity of Ohio.
Family owned pumpkin patches, street festivals, and corn mazes are blossoming right off the highway.
One Sunday afternoon, my friends and I drove to the outskirts of Columbus, in hopes of finding a farmers market that we were told harvests the freshest produce around.
When parked off the dirt road, we were some of the only people there.
I was so amazed by how simple and authentic everyone and everything looked.
I spoke to an elderly woman who owned the market and listened as she happily shared her story with my friends and I. She told us about her grandparents’ passion for agriculture and their dream of opening a family farm.
This dream of course became a reality, as they eventually opened a small farmer’s market, which has been flourishing with loyal customers for over 30 years!!
It impressed me that this small market was the heart of an entire family, dating back generations.
The woman was so satisfied simply sharing her produce and her story with just a few customers a day; a refreshing change from the competitive and fast paced nature of New York.
This grateful appreciation of the small things is something I have come to appreciate and embody here in Ohio.
Embracing and enjoying simplicity is a value that has been instilled in me since joining the Ohio State community, and I am lucky to have so many friends and classmates who feel the same way.
In general, Ohio is a state filled with interesting, modern entertainment blended with authentic, simple experiences to connect to core family values.
Living in Ohio has provided me with unique opportunities to engage with diverse people and to appreciate things in a way many New Yorker’s fail to do.
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- Diversity In Columbus, Ohio: From City Life To Corn Fields - December 12, 2016