UVM, by way of New York

Gabby Felitto

I came to UVM from the concrete jungle, New York City. I never stayed in a smaller town for longer than a week before coming here.

While I knew going to school in a small “city” like Burlington was going to be an adjustment, it has been my dream school ever since I visited at 14 years old.

UVM was different compared to other colleges I’d seen before. My family attended University at Buffalo, and I didn’t want to attend a crowded city college.

You always see movies where a small-town kid has to adjust to a big-city college.

Nobody seems to think of the situation the other way around.

The first thing I had to get used to was everyone’s different dialects.

I was shocked hearing people say “grinder,” when talking about a sandwich and not the dating app.

I had to get used to hearing different conversation topics. I’ve never heard so many people talk about skiing before.

My first conversations here were about injuries that some other students in my orientation group had acquired while skiing.

I had to get used to people smiling when making eye contact. Most people don’t smile in NYC unless they’re creepy.

City people are used to putting on “resting bitch face” and looking away quickly.

People may think we’re uninterested or mean, but we’re just not used to smiling at strangers.

I’m also not used to small talk. It’s weird to have people speak to you when you’re  waiting for class to start.

I act the way I would on a train, where there’s an unspoken rule to keep to yourself.

I’ve also had to adjust to public transportation here.

I thought I’d get used to it, since I’m used to taking trains and buses, and I’d be okay without a car.

Everyone is shocked that I don’t have a driver’s license, but I’ve never needed one before.

The buses here are much less efficient compared to NYC buses. According to a Jan. 7 Burlington Free Pass article, their timetables are unreliable and don’t fit peoples’ schedules.

In a small town, there’s the one fancy place, and the one more laid back place.

Church Street is a fun place, but it’s only a few blocks. The shops are expensive for college students, and food options are limited too.      

Although it’s been a huge adjustment coming here, I do love it. I needed to experience something different, or else I would’ve felt stuck.

Most of the faculty and students are genuinely nice. People aren’t grumpy all the time. The mountains here are far prettier than skyscrapers.

Everything fell right into place as my high school has a partnership to create greater diversity within the STEM field with UVM. I knew kids, including my bestie, coming here.

This partnership isn’t limited to just creating diversity. It also encourages environmental studies, as both my high school and UVM focus greatly on environmental studies.

Students interested in this partnership are offered a number of scholarships, which didn’t hurt in making my decision to come here.

While I’ve been here, I’ve met cool people, especially at the Cynic.

It’s hard not having a bodega at every corner, but I know UVM is where I’m supposed to be.