I from the northern suburbs of Chicago and sometimes better referred to as the North Shore. It is a hard place to grow up. I can never be too mad at it because it has helped to shape me into the person I am today. However, if I could describe the North Shore in one word, it would be “material.” Everyone is about material possessions. It is full of fancy cars, expensive clothes, elegant restaurants, and well-groomed people. With that comes inconsiderate and rude people, always expecting others to serve them. People walk around with an arrogance and too busy to stop and say hello. It is definitely a “eaten or be eaten” culture. Sometimes I am surprised I even survived.
My family and I do not fit into the typical North Shore stereotype. I did not have a lot of friends in high school because I was not obsessed with having the trendy clothes, that cost the same as what it would be to feed my family for a week. On my 16th birthday, I was not given a brand new BMW, I was given a set of keys to my mom’s car. I still don’t have a car.
I began to think that this is what the rest of the world was like. I was happily mistaken when I came to DePauw University and by default, became a member of city of Greencastle. I walked through the aisles of Kroger or Wal-Mart and people said hello to me. People I didn’t even know said hello to me. Strangers were so welcoming and friendly. I did not understand this concept.
People talk about the poor town-gown relations between DePauw and Greencastle, but coming from my town, I think that the relations aren’t that bad. I guess it is just a different lifestyle than the North Shore. It is slow-placed and traditional, contrary to the fast way of life in my hometown. Because of the great interactions with Greencastle residents, it has provided me with the majority of my motivation to do service as a part of the Bonner program. I want to give back for the great treatment I have received from everyone.
I’m not always thrilled to return to the ways of the North Shore, but I try and bring Greencastle back with me. I try to say hello to strangers or say please and thank you when it is appropriate. I know I’m not going to change the North Shore, but it’s something.