I’m from a place where three rivers meet: the Ohio, the Monongahela, and the Allegheny. I go grocery shopping at Giant Eagle for jumbo, jimmies, and pop. My favorite food is Primanti Brother’s sandwiches and my grandma’s Sunday night spaghetti dinners. As far as I’m concerned there is only one football team and that is the Pittsburgh Steelers; six-time Super Bowl champs. To this day, I still wish the Jerome “the bus” Bettis would come back and play. On Saturday mornings, I go to the strip and Saturday nights, I go down to the South Side. My favorite singers include Donnie Iris, The Clarks, and Whiz Kalifa. In the summer, when it finally reaches fifty degrees and all of the “slippy” ice is gone, I go to Kennywood just for the Potato Patch fries and Idlewild for company picnics. I tie my hair back with a gumband and my favorite “kellers” are black and gold. I’m “nebby” but I am definitely not a “jagoff” like the whole city of Cleveland. I loved hearing Myron Cope on DVE Sunday afternoons to hear him cheer on the “Stillers” to their victory. After coming to college, I believe that you should never forget where you are from and never leave your roots behind because they are what make you the person you have come to be today.
Coming to college, as most freshmen, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I didn’t know if I’d like it. I didn’t know if I would succeed; I didn’t know if I’d fit in. With completion of my first semester of college, I learned something that you cannot learn in a classroom. Although I gained knowledge from my classes; I gained wisdom; something you can’t pay for or hear in a lecture hall. I learned the importance of being who you are and not being too afraid to show it.
As an out of state person at a university with what felt like all in-state students, I felt like I lost my true identity. I felt like I got lost in a crowd of 17,000 students. I didn’t wear cowboy boots, and I didn’t have a southern accent. I drenched my food in ketchup and used words such as “nebby” and “yinz”. I think that 50 degrees is warm and when people were wearing winter coats and I was in a skirt, I felt even more out of place. Instead of conforming to what everyone else was doing.
I realized that since I am one of the few Pittsburghers at James Madison University, that I should embrace my differences. I should be proud that I am from Pittsburgh because the city has truly made me the person that I have become today.