Students Reflect on Living in Charleston

Cassie Buchman, City Editor

Going to a new school is always a big change, especially when it includes moving to a different town.

For Brittany Staten, a second year graduate student studying Family and Consumer Sciences, coming to Charleston all the way from Chicago has been a different experience for her.

“It’s quieter than in Chicago, I’m used to more noise,” she said. “(Charleston) is slower paced, something I have to get used to. I like that it is quieter, in Chicago the noise drives me nuts, I like it quiet here. I can focus.”

Another difference she noted was the weather.

“(It’s) a lot colder in Chicago, in Charleston it’s a few degrees warmer so I’m thankful for that much,” Staten said.

Staten said she had to take some time to get used to the environment.

“It is a smaller city,” she said. “I was optimistic about being here because it’s such a difference.”

She also enjoys the independence of being away from home.

One thing Staten enjoys about Charleston is the farmer’s market.

“I like getting fresh vegetables, especially since I’m trying to eat healthy, and giving back to the community feels good.”

Staten said she did not like how there were not that many different restaurants around compared to Chicago.

“I like to go out and eat different things, (here) it can get routine,” she said.

Staten said her six years in Charleston have been a good experience.

She also said the affordability is another advantage of living in Charleston.

“I can live off campus and afford it, and not worry about how to make ends meet,” Staten said.

Kailee Nelson, a sophomore psychology major who is also from Chicago, pointed out the noisy city.

“It’s very crowded, loud (and) very fast,” she said.

She said moving to Charleston was an easy transition for her, considering everything was more relaxed.

Nelson said that Charleston “was a lot more connected” than Chicago.

“In Charleston, we all live in this area, in Chicago (there are) a lot of tourists and people from other areas and lots of people from the suburbs. I really appreciate the fact that people are very relaxed, it’s so easy to come into a place you don’t know, and people are very nice to you in that fact,” Nelson said.

Despite the friendly people and relaxed environment, there are a couple of things Nelson misses about the windy city.

“I miss the buildings,  (and) the fastness sometimes,” she said.

Alina Ruppert, a sophomore accounting major, is from Taylorville, a town an hour and a half away from Charleston.

“It’s pretty quiet, not much going on,” she said. “They’re both farming towns, basically. (There’s) not too much going on.”

Though Charleston and Taylorville are the same in that respect, there is one difference.

“Obviously, Charleston has Eastern, and students around all the time with the campus,” Ruppert said. “Last year I was a bit homesick but now I want to come back, because I miss my friends, and I’m pretty involved, I would say.” she said.

One thing she likes about Charleston is how close everything is.

“I can either walk (to places) or take the shuttle, so it’s easier to get around, get groceries or things I need,” Ruppert said.

Merrian Tice, a freshman elementary education major, is from Lincoln, Ill, and had a similar experience to Ruppert. “It’s about the size of Charleston. There’s a Wal-Mart and a bowling alley and a movie theatre.”

Tice said living in Charleston and Lincoln were pretty much the same.

Bikram Thapa, a freshman mathematics and computer science major, had a much bigger transition, coming all the way from Nepal.

“I don’t have words to describe It,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place.”

Two things he proudly said about his home country was the fact that the Buddha was born there, and it is home to Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

“I still miss Nepal.” Thapa said. “It’s quite cool. I did a lot with friends and family.”

He especially misses the motorbikes.

“I didn’t see any out here, it’s quiet,” Thapa said.

Despite Charleston’s supposed lack of motorbikes, Thapa said it is “quite good here, most of the time.”

“We have good brakes. In Nepal, we continuously study,” he said.

With the winter weather, Thapa said that Charleston is “quite freezing here.”

“It’s moderate (in Nepal). Neither cold nor hot. I like the snow here. I haven’t seen snow in Nepal. Of course there’s the mountain, but I live in the city, no snow there,” he said.

Thepa said interaction with others is different.

“There’s a high status of living here, I can see people smiling when I look at them,” he said. “When you look at someone (in Nepal), they don’t react.”

One thing Thapa said he misses about Nepal is the spicy food, a sentiment which was echoed by Sameer Gautam, a freshman math and computer science major, and Nikay Maharjan, a freshman graphic design major, both also from Nepal.

Sameer Gautam said even though he has had some homesickness, he has gotten to know many people from being here.

A place Maharjan still thinks about often from Nepal is Patan Durbar Square.

“I miss sitting in the cafe, smoking, having coffee in the morning,” he said.


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].