If I had a single dollar for every time I heard this question, I would have enough money to buy a Canada Goose jacket for everyday of the week. Coming from California, I expected to have a hard time adjusting to the Boston climate. Or rather, everyone around me assumed that I would have a hard time living in cold weather.
College shopping for my mother and me included an extra leg of work: buying winter clothes for the first time. My mother, frantic about her child’s ability to survive the cold climate, called every single person she knew on the east coast to get their insight and advice on apparel. She was determined, it seemed, to prepare me to present myself as if I had spent my entire life managing snowy winters. But the truth was that I had spent my childhood and adolescence in sunny Southern California, questioning the existence of four seasons and praying for rainfall. I had never even seen snow before.
As a result, my parents — and everyone else who asked me where I was headed for college — seemed to think I would have a hard time with the cold. It was a ripe topic for conversation before I left and when I returned over Thanksgiving and Winter Break.
Unbeknownst to my friends and family back home, I never actually struggled with the cold here on the east coast. In fact, I really enjoyed it during my freshman year at BU. Sure, some days were harder than others, and I cherished every break I spent under the warm, dazzling California sun, but I genuinely enjoyed living in a cold climate. I loved watching the leaves change, and I shed a tear during the first snowfall. I basked in the joy of a cold holiday season, and I absolutely loved experiencing New England culture when I had the opportunity to explore the east coast. I spent a weekend camping in New Hampshire under radiant fall foliage, and I also spent a weekend trekking across suburban Connecticut to reach the Mohegan Sun, a secluded casino and concert venue. Not only did I fall in love with New England, but also, in fact, a part of me felt complete, as if I had been waiting all my life to live among Northeasterners and their classic Colonial architecture. And as I finished my first year of college and watched the Boston skyline recede from the window of my plane home, it hit me: I was an East Coast girl trapped in a West Coast body. And then it hit me again: if I was made to live on the east coast, where should I go after school?
I wish I could take everyone I love and care about from home and move them out here. I wish I could stay in Boston or New York over the summer and still be able to spend time with friends and family from home. Sometimes I even wish I had my car and the gorgeous California coast line on cold, blustery winter days. Thinking about the two lives I have on each coast is so frustrating that I convince myself I’ll never be happy, regardless of where I end up.
But the truth is that I will have many decisions to make as I start preparing for my professional career. Do I want to pursue filmmaking in my hometown of Los Angeles, in accordance with my anticipated Film & T.V. degree from COM? Or do I try pursuing foreign policy and diplomacy in Washington D.C., as my classes for my anticipated International Relations degree from CAS seem to convince me? Or do I want to apply to jobs in New York City, a place I’ve called my second home since the fifth grade and a city that never fails to fill me with a special sense of excitement and hope? A city that houses some of my closest friends from college and my own older brother?
Thankfully, I still have time to decide where I want to live after school. Even still, much of the decision will be out of my hands, as it greatly depends on where (and if) I receive employment offers.
But wherever I end up, I know I’ll keep a part of each coast — and the people I care about on either side — with me.