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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

College can be a culture shock

Photo credit: Helen Suh

One would think that coming from the Bay Area, nothing would surprise me at this point. And yet when I came to Chico State three years ago, I was in a total culture shock.

I could have sworn I’d seen it all. With San Francisco being my backyard and the country being only a 40-minute drive, I thought I was a well-rounded person. Shoot, I unpacked my cowboy boots freshman year while listening to YG. I was as diverse as a white girl can get.

However, when I went out for the first time that weekend, I was in for a huge awakening. I was met with people, personalities and environments that I was not accustomed to.

I was so used to the liberal, free-spirited Bay Area vibe, I really had to take a step back when I came to the more conservative Chico. I thought I would get used to it because I spent a good part of my life in a small town in Florida that is full of old fisherman. I guess I was just so used to seeing older conservative people and wasn’t use to younger conservative people.

Now I’m not saying Chico State is some conservative Republican school, cause it’s quite liberal in most aspects, but I didn’t really encounter any conservative beliefs back home. So the small amount that Chico has threw me off.

I remember when I was touring the school I asked my friend, “How’s the diversity here?”

She laughed and said, “We don’t have any.”

I knew this would mainly just affect my love life, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do at a predominantly white school.

On the outside, I look like I would fit right in. On the inside, I was screaming. Everywhere I looked, I saw the same basic white girl. I could almost count with my fingers how many people I saw that were either not white or were unique in some way.

Certain comments I would hear, judgments being made, I was in complete shock. Granted, through the years, the school has gotten so much better. But still, every time I come back after visiting home I almost have to remind myself I’m not in the Bay anymore.

Activities are different, interests are different, the music is different; everything is just so different. And I’m not saying that different is bad, I’m just saying that I’m about to wrap up my third year at Chico, and I’m still in a bit of culture shock.

Being at Chico really helped me though. I always just thought that people who had different opinions were thousands of miles away, but they’re actually my neighbors. I figured I was accepting to all people, but this made me realize there’s even more people I need to open my mind to.

I pride myself to be open-minded, and being met with different people than I was accustomed to helped me to be even more open-minded than before. And I feel like that’s how everyone should be: open-minded. But after meeting these new people, I understand that not everyone is like that.

You should accept the things you cannot change, and change the things you cannot accept.

I’m pretty biased. I think the Bay Area is the greatest place to live. Anywhere outside of it would be out of my norm. So I think college alone is a culture shock, and I learned a lot more outside the classroom than I ever would in one.

Brittany McClintock can be reached at [email protected] or @B_McClintock17 on Twitter.

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Brittany Mcclintock, Staff Writer

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