I grew up in Topeka, Kansas, which, both figuratively and literally, is many miles from Boston. I thought that moving from a place like Kansas to a big city would be overwhelming, but I am here to tell any prospective students worried about the transition that Boston could not be a more welcome change of pace. After a three day drive with all my belongings and a cat in my tiny car, I entered Boston around rush hour and thought I was probably in well over my head. Things move quickly here, but even I (coming from the land of meandering) assimilate to the pace quicker than one might think. I've noticed that even my GPS is challenged from time to time-often acting as shocked as I am at the inconceivable time it can take to get to Target on a Tuesday night. However, it is truly just a way of life that, I believe, people here have come to live with. Certainly, it was shocking at first, but I have come to enjoy my extended travel times and find that I am operating much more efficiently than I was in Kansas, where there was no need to plan your day around transportation.
Topeka is primarily know for two things: the infamous Westboro Baptist Church and it's nearness (yes, just the nearness) to the World's Largest Ball of Twine. Boston, on the other hand, has a few more talking points, not to mention it's size is significantly superior. When I moved here, I chose to seek out housing in a Boston suberb, Newton, MA, and have noticed that many of my classmates chose to do the same. The suberbs of Boston are easily accessible and typically have easy access to public transportation if you want to access Boston.
My commute from my home or school to my practicum site is a long one. I am working two days a week in Lowell, a town about 30 miles north, and to travel there in the morning can easily take an hour and a half. I had been warned by older MSPP students that the commute to a distant site can really hinder your personal time, but for some reason, 30 miles did not seem particularly distant to me a year ago. Today, as I drive 20 miles per hour on the interstate, I can see where these students were coming from, but it still is not completely unsettling. I have come starting trying to turn my "commuting time" into an opportunity for self-care by listening to books on CD or catching up with friends on the phone. While it is only October, I have come to sort of look forward to this time where I can (actuall, must) unplug myself from thinking about homework or readings for school.
Clearly, driving is one of countless major differences that represent the changes in my lifestyle now as opposed to a year ago. I hope to be able to discuss more of them as they become more salient as the school year progresses!