Written by Carrie Baker. Media by Kayla Morton.
It is a question that greets almost every college student when meeting someone new. “Where are you from?” appears to be the icebreaker question. The reason people ask this question is clear. Where you were raised gives insight into what kind of person you probably are and what kind of person you are not. Based on your answer, the other person more than likely proceeds to make stereotypes about you, and to be honest, you conclude that some of them are probably true. Whether you live amidst the hype buzz of a city or the calm simplicity of a rural community everyone has an opinion. They each have their fair share of pros and cons, so which lifestyle is really better?
Over the years, there have been multiple studies on urban and rural communities, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of living in each place. Research shows that in 2014, 81% of people in the United States lived in urban areas. So what’s the draw to big city life? Most of it resembles opportunity. Oxford Economics explains that “the world’s 750 biggest cities today account for some 57% of global gross domestic product” and that number is only expected to increase. Urban areas are breeding grounds for entrepreneurship, innovation and invention and many flock to cities to fulfill the “American Dream.” Not to mention cities are teeming with employment and housing opportunities and offer a huge selection of culture and entertainment right outside one’s backdoor. Formerly from Stockton, California, Greenville student Marisa Lovato, lived in a city of 300,000 people. “I think the best part about living in a big city, compared to Greenville, is that everything is so close.” Urban life provides seemingly limitless opportunities. In a city, you don’t have to look far to find something to do or someone to do it with.
While city life may be booming with opportunity, the alternative has just as much to offer. Rural living provides things like quietness and open land, less pollution, minimal traffic and an intimate community lifestyle, as well as lower cost of living. While some people may call it unbearable, others call it paradise. Greenville College sophomore, Brianna Anderson would agree. She explains how living “in the middle of nowhere” developed her as a person and gave her appreciation for the simple things in life and those who surround her. Though she may not be able to walk out her door and go to the movies, she has found that it’s just as easy to make her own fun. Whether she’s hunting, riding horses or four-wheelers, going to bonfires or just taking in the scenery, nature is her playground. To her, living in the country is about serenity. Unlike the city, rural life is often a quiet escape to think and admire God’s beauty, like the stars in the night sky.
When asked about where she sees herself in the future, Anderson said, “The country is where I was born and raised and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Growing up on a farm myself, I’d have to agree. Of course, God’s beauty is everywhere and we can appreciate it either in a rural or urban setting. But being raised rurally, I’ve learned life lessons that have shaped me into the person I am today. One thing I’ve concluded is there are some things that just can’t be bought at an outlet mall, created in a factory or fulfilled by the latest and greatest restaurants and entertainment venues. Just because I don’t have everything I could ever want right outside my door, doesn’t mean I don’t have opportunity. The problem with the rural versus urban living debate is everyone you ask will, of course, have different experiences, beliefs and opinions. But I’ve learned the best times of my life have begun where the pavement ends.