Growing Roots or Moving to a New City?

By Luis H. Garay

This past week I had the fortune of catching up with college friends who I had not seen since I graduated. These friends stayed in a nearby town to our undergraduate institution and one came back to work as a student affairs professional at our undergraduate. One of the questions I was asked from them, “So, is this it? Are you staying in Chicago?”

For the people who know me well, I love to travel. Call it wanderlust, call it being interested in other cultures, or a desire to explore the unknown. The semester of study abroad in London in 2011 is still one of the most cherished memories I have. So, when I was asked “So, is this it?” I…couldn’t really answer them.

Two friends (who are originally not from Illinois) talked about how they loved living where they do. They feel settled, have a core group of friends, and are happy where they are living. The other friend (who shares a similar point of view as me) talked about how living in new places has allowed them to explore who they are.

For the past two years, I have lived in Missouri: 8 hours from home and a very, very different community then what I had been accustomed to at the time. Now, being back in Chicago…this doesn’t feel the end of where I am supposed to be. I have laid roots in a wide variety of places and learned a great deal about myself in these places. I love Chicago, don’t get me wrong. I always say I want to come back here in my 30s and this is where I will live, raise a family, and retire.

One of the things the job search has taught me is to keep open to all possibilities. I am searching nationally and even though, as I say, in a perfect world I would love to end up in Philadelphia, I know that may not be my reality. If I am offered an amazing job in Chicago, where I can really see myself, and be happy there, would I take it? Of course. In my mind the offer is a stage direction from the Universe and that would be where at that point and time I need to be.

The title for this week’s blog post is influenced in part from this article: Why You Should Move To A New City Where You Don’t Know A Single Soul

Thanks for reading, tweet me your thoughts at @LuisHGaray or comment below!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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