When I first started college, one of the aspects I enjoyed most was the fact that not everyone knew every detail of my life.
Growing up in small town Nebraska, this was quite the adjustment. It was easy to forget that not everyone has known who I was since I was born.
As much as I enjoyed this newly found self-made identity, I realized I missed the everybody-knows-everybody small-town lifestyle. At first, I couldn’t figure out why, but when I had to write my final paper for English composition class, it was obvious.
This final paper I wrote was a personal narrative/research paper about my hometown. To be honest, I was not overjoyed about completing this assignment. The last task I wanted to do in the final weeks of my fall semester was write a seven-page paper about the place where I grew up.
I wrote the paper the night before it was due - do not worry, college has not changed my procrastinating ways - and brought it to class for a peer review session. While my peers read my paper, I was reading theirs, with destinations like Hastings, Fremont, Omaha, Blair, Kearney and other larger Nebraska cities.
This was when I realized how unique my experiences were compared to theirs. Individuals from these larger towns and cities wrote about cold, impersonal topics, like the construction of a new highway, the addition of chicken barns and other industrial ideas. Whenever I read these, I felt like they had no connection to the place where they were raised.
In my paper, I wrote about the strength of the community and how it is the strongest factor in small towns. The bonding of community members to save the town from flood waters, the construction of the town’s new grocery store through community funding and backing, supporting community members in times of need, and organizing the rodeo year after year are just a sample of the topics I wrote about. But most of all, I wrote about the people in the community; the people who make Clearwater what it is.
People who dedicate countless hours to make the community run smoothly. Local business owners who support every community engagement. Teachers who know every student in school and attend all extracurricular activities. All of these people make small towns what they are.
Yes, at times it may be annoying that everybody knows everything about you in a small town, but this might be a good thing.
If someone is in need, there is always somebody there to help you get you back on your feet, which makes growing up and living in an everybody-knows-everybody town the best possible scenario, and the same reason I want to live and raise my family in a small town.