From Skyscrapers to Small Town

By Christina Ferrari
@cm_ferrari3

As I write these words, bags and boxes in my childhood bedroom surround me. I’m packing up the past, the life I knew for six years living in Chicago working and learning in both large public and private universities around the city has come to a close. In these final days I prepare to move to rural Indiana to work at small but mighty Valparaiso University.

The past two months I was fortunate to have time to get organized, reconnect with friends, and process this major life change. Yes, it may only be across the state line and I’ll have ample opportunity to visit the connections I have in my old home, but this is still a huge life shift. Gone are the CTA lines, the skyscrapers, the street performers, and the ridiculous sales tax. Now, small town living with free street parking, local cafes, and Wal-mart will shape my experience.

Staying in the Midwest was not something I had planned on doing when I registered for national placement exchanges last fall. Often processes in life do not turn out the way we imagine. That’s the beauty of it. We don’t know where we will end up. I ultimately chose to stay in the same region, to change locale from urban to rural. To change institution type from working at the large, public commuter school of the University of Illinois at Chicago to the small, charming liberal arts college. I chose a place I connected to in my interviews, a place that embraced all I could offer their team and all that I was. I chose change because I knew it would change me as a person. Anytime we consciously leave what we know to go to something we don’t, it is an emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental transition.

During my time of transition since graduating in May, I’ve sat down to many phone calls, meals, and cups of coffee with people in and outside of our field. I’ve had adventures all around town with folks I trust and admire. With them, I shared my goals, fears, hopes, and excitement as I embark on life as a professional. We talked finances, professional aspirations, and personal plans for the year ahead. I am so fortunate and grateful to have an ample group of friends and colleagues supporting me as I take this next step.

Transitions, small or large, are always worth acknowledging. As we sit on the precipice of new and unknown next steps we must take a moment to pause and be grateful for the road we walked leading us to this moment. And so, I pause now to reflect gratefully on my time in Chicago—knowing this is not the end but just the beginning of something different, something new. To the greatest city in the world and all the amazing people in it—thank you for everything. Thank you for showing me I am part of something beautiful. You have my heart, you are my home, and I’ll see you soon.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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