Let’s face it, we are in the middle of bumfuck Iowa an hours driving from the nearest city, no public transportation, an airport that is an 2-3 layovers from most places, and a town that is hella small.
I’d say that, with the exception of people born in Iowa, most people who have come Grinnell did so in a way that prioritized education and career over familial relationships and friend bases/support networks, and when coming here knew roughly 0-3 people in Grinnell.
As a fourth year, I have a similar choice to face: start over in a new location, with no friends/ family, maybe one or two contacts, but at a place that will gives me great work opportunities, OR go to a place where career options are limited but family / friends are plentiful.
In the US, the answer is obvious: you choose your career. There is the idea that a good child moves away from their family and ‘makes it big’ elsewhere. That in your youth you move around a lot, doing short, intense, high payoff careers, moving to where the money is, and it’s only when you are old that you THEN settle down.
Obviously, the career choice is the logical choice. With it you maximize your economic output, you get to see and experience a whole bunch of new places, build up a bunch of experience, network with tons of people… It’s great!
But I say, Fuck That. There’s a reason the US has extremely high rates of depression, anxiety, and such a shitty family structure as a whole – other factors lack of support network has got to be up there. There’s no one to help you when you need it, or to guide you and advise you on stuff. You have to learn how the new ecosystem works without anyone to teach you. And there’s all the shitty emotions of sadness, abandonment, etc. that crop up too.
I’m not gonna lie, I miss my friends back home. People here are cool, but it’s not the same - I grew up with people from home, and everything is different. And the situation is shitty because (a) being isolated from them means those relationships are slowly but surely deteriorating and (b) the relationships I make here are also going to deteriorate.
I mean, it’s sad. We come here, make super deep relationships with people here due to being in the same shitty situation together, live through our young adult years, and after graduation promptly abandon everyone for a career in which we are most likely never going to interact with them ever again except for the odd Facebook message and catching up during reunion.
And now that I’m moving off someplace else it’s going to be even worse, because at least in Grinnell is designed to build friendships and bonding experiences (first time drinking, drug experiences, etc., as well as being physically close to one another). In the workplace, hell no.
Maybe I’m being cynical. Maybe there is a way to build meaningful connections with people you don’t know whilst balancing work, bills, housing, a love life, etc. whilst living isolated from people. But I doubt it.
And yet still I will prioritize work over a support network. Because I am a coward. And because everyone else is doing it.
Oh well. I hope we keep in touch. And that the loneliness doesn’t do me in.