Interview with Student from Washington State

BY JACK GALLANT

Why did you come to Massachusetts?

I grew up in Centralia, Washington. I played sports, specifically basketball and had many friends. However, my best friend moved to New Jersey the summer before our senior year. I originally came to the east coast for an internship in New York. Then I was looking for schools to transfer to. I found out that Fitchburg had a good film program, and after visiting the school, I decided to come here.

 

Did you have any perceptions of Massachusetts before you came here? Did these come to be true?

Honestly, no, I didn’t know anything about Massachusetts until I came here. I only knew the term Masshole. I only knew of Boston and that made me think I would hear a Boston accent more. I rarely hear it around Fitchburg though. I didn’t think people would actually be assholes from here, but the drivers are crazy sometimes. Everyone has been pretty nice since I’ve gotten here.

 

What has been the biggest difference between Washington and Massachusetts?

Well, this past summer I went home, and I was driving on our freeway. I had to merge onto the highway, and there was a car right next to me. I was expecting for them to be rude and not let me over like it’s like in Massachusetts, but instead they let me in right away. After living here and going back, I realized it’s a lot faster pace in Mass. and the drivers are crazy here. Everything is a lot more squished, meaning that there is more country in Washington and less where I live here. In certain parts of Washington there will be long stretches of highway where there would be no exits for miles. Whereas when I am here, and the places I’ve been, there are a lot more exits.

 

What has been the hardest thing to get used to since coming here?

It’s been hard to get used to making new friends. When I got here, I didn’t know anyone, and I was far away from anyone I knew well. I felt alone for the first few months, and I kept leaving to see my only friend on the east coast at UNH. After I made friends here it became easier and easier to live here. I had people I could depend on. One night I was very upset over something silly when I think about it now but back then it wasn’t. Anyways, I would usually call my friend at UNH, but instead I called my first friend I made here, and she came right over to my room to comfort me. Through her I made more friends and ultimately the group that I hang out with now. Now I wouldn’t want to live without any of them.

 

What has been your favorite thing about of living here?

All of the people that I met and living on my own. Also, all the new places I’ve been have made it very fun to live here. I spent all of my childhood in Washington, so moving here made me feel like I was growing up into a bright and independent woman. Being close to Boston because I really like Boston; it’s one of my favorite cities. Also, the change is new and different, which I enjoy.

 

Do you plan to stay in Massachusetts after you graduate?

Yes, well at least staying in the area (the east coast). Maybe not Massachusetts, but for sure the east coast. I will hopefully get a job in Boston after I graduate, but I would be open to going anywhere near Massachusetts. As I said before I had an internship in New York, so if I had to go back there, it would still be nice. Massachusetts feels more like home now that I have been here for a year and because of the people I met. If I had to move back to the west coast, I think I would be really sad. Even going back there last summer was difficult because all I wanted to do was be back here.

 

Is it hard to be away from your family all the time?

No, because I am really independent. But I do miss them. It’s difficult at times to live here because there’s so much planning on how I am going to get home to see my family over holidays. I miss out on Thanksgiving and other smaller holidays, so I usually only go home twice a year: once at Christmas and once for the summer. It’s expensive to fly across the country. But luckily I have my friend at UNH who I can go with for those smaller holidays like Thanksgiving. She moved to New Jersey before our last year of high school, so I’ve been able to go to her house for the shorter, yet long-ish, holidays. They have become my second family.