Friends From All Over

It’s pretty standard practice in the Simmons College GSLIS program for professors to have students go around the room and say a bit about themselves on the first day of class.  The questions they ask vary--What interests you about this field?  What program are you in?  What’s something unique about you?--but something that almost always gets asked is simply--Where are you from?

On my very first day of class, I was really excited about this question.  I thought I was going to have the most unique answer in the room.  I thought people would think, “Missouri?!  That’s SO far away!”  Having gone to a Missouri state university for undergrad, I was very used to functioning in an environment lacking diversity in the geographic-area-of-origin department; most of the people I knew were from the St. Louis or Kansas City areas, and anyone who hailed from out-of-state or country definitely received special attention of some kind on the first days of classes.  The fact that I was moving across the country for school meant that I would definitely get some attention for my hometown affiliation…right?

Wrong!  Turns out, people relocate to Boston from all over for the GSLIS program!  Just in that first class, I met people who were from Colorado, Michigan, Washington, Texas, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Rhode Island, and even Alaska. 

There was, as expected, a preponderance of people from the New England area, but throughout my time in the program I’ve met students from all regions of the the United States.  There is also a strong international student presence in the GSLIS program, with 13 countries being represented in the 2009-2010 academic year.  Even though I didn’t get the moment in the spotlight I’d hoped for in my first classes, I was really excited that Simmons would give me the opportunity to meet people from all over the country and world. 

A nice side effect of the diverse nature of the GSLIS program is that, since so many of us have only just moved to Boston, we are all the same boat in terms of wanting to explore the city and wanting to make connections with people outside of classes.  Simply put, we’re all in the market for local friends!  For me, the making-friends process moved a little slowly--I think largely due to the fact that my schedule was very tight last semester and I didn’t have time to attend many planned activities--but things have calmed down in my second semester and I can say I’ve comfortably become a part of a pretty solid group of friends.  We like to get together for drinks, and we have plans to visit the New England Aquarium and Walden Pond in the near future.  I love having friends who want to be tourists with me!

Among many things, my GSLIS friends and I quickly bonded over our similar experiences with making plans to attend Simmons while living far away from Boston.  There were definitely stressful factors: finding a place to live, deciding how and when to move, and learning how to get around once we got here.  I plan on sharing some of my own experiences with these issues next week, so be sure to tune in!

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