By Katherine Gale

Whenever I tell people that I am a Resident Assistant in a freshmen residence hall, in return I always receive an “Oh that sucks”, “You poor thing”, or even the occasional “Why would you do that?”. The funny thing is, freshmen are some of the best residents that you could have; they bring something to the table that you can’t usually find in upperclassmen. From day one of Welcome Week these kids show up with a light in their eyes and ambition radiating from their core. They’re excited, they’re nervous, they’re curious, and they’re enjoying every little thing they do, because each experience they have on campus at this time is a first experience. Sure, I have to teach them all of the rules and resources of campus, but at the same time, these kids teach me.

This is my second semester as an RA, and there’s something a little different about my residents this time around. During our first-floor meeting as we went around the room asking residents to answer the questions they’ll be asked at least a million times that week (“What is your name, where are you from, and what is your major?”), my jaw dropped over and over again as the residents named off some of the states they were from. There were residents from the North, South, West, and even a non-contiguous state. All I could wonder was just, why? Why would these kids travel so far to our dinky little rustic Adirondack college? Especially with residents from states like Colorado and Oregon, I was dying to know what either pushed them out of their home state, or what pulled them here. The best way to answer that question was to ask them myself. I reached out to four of my residents that reside in states far enough away that their preferred vessel of travel to reach Paul Smith’s is a plane. These are the Smitties who, in order to get here, must fly.


Lauren Bowe (Dallas, Texas)

Before actually travelling to New York State, what did you think it was like here? What were you expecting the people would be like? Any stereotypes about New Yorkers that you believed in?

Yeah I thought everyone would be really mean, and have New York accents.  I didn’t expect the state to be so beautiful up here, until I drove up.

 

What did you expect the school to be like, location wise?

I expected it to be kind of dirty, like a grungy redneck school, in the middle of nowhere.

 

Upon actually visiting New York, what kind of impression did it give you? Did your idea of the state change at all or was it what you were expecting?

It changed a lot; people are way nicer than I thought. Actually, a lot of the people that I came across are a lot nicer than people in the south.

 

What are some of the stereotypes and expectations people have had about you whenever you tell them what state you’re from? And what is your usual thought or response to those ideas?

People usually thought I was some like country girl who had a whole bunch of horses. I guess people just thought I would have a thicker accent.

 

I’ll be honest, as your RA I stereotyped you by your state before I even saw you, I expected a “southern bell” – future house wife type. I feel awful saying that, but it’s the stereotype that comes to mind when I think about Texas. How would you correct me, and teach me a little bit about your state?

That is very stereotyped. I will be a wife, but that doesn’t define who I am. I am still my own person and I still have my ambitions and things that I want to pursue.

 

What are some of the weird things that New Yorkers do that are very different from your state?

Everyone up here wears camo and it’s weird, like EVERYONE. I don’t own one single thing of camo. Everyone’s very honest, people don’t beat around the bush, they’re just very to the point. You don’t sugar coat it up here; you always know how a New Yorker really feels.

 

From the few months that you’ve experienced living in New York so far, do you enjoy it here? Do you ever regret deciding to attend college so far from home?

I do not regret coming up here. I think it’s been very good for me to kind of spread wings on my own and establish roots apart from what I’ve always known. It’s been a big change but I think change grows you. I love it here; it feels like home. I love it more than any other state I lived in, and I’ve lived in 6.

 

Now the big question, why Paul Smith’s College?  Of all the places you could attend, what brought you across the country to a tiny private school in the woods?

 

I like the size of it here, I like that it’s small and intimate. You have deeper relationships at a small school, you’re not just one in a million. You don’t get lost in a sea of people. I grew up moving around so the thought of going so far away on my own was exciting. I wanted to move up north because I’ve never lived in the North. It just really jumped out to me when I saw it, I just kind of knew it was the one, as cheesy as that sounds.

 

How did you hear about PSC?

I looked up the best schools for hospitality and it came up under top 20!

 

Do you think that getting a New York education will help you in getting hired for your future career?

I never thought of it, but I can see how it will make a difference. When I saw Paul Smith’s I saw all the opportunities; I figured that would open up a lot of doors for international studies and internships.  

 

Do you plan on building a future in New York State, returning to your home state, or going elsewhere?

I’d like to build a future in New York, I’m not sure where but I can see myself having one. If not here, then international.

 

What is your favorite thing about Paul Smith’s college, the thing that really validates for you that you made the right choice in coming here?

I think it just feels like home. That is the best thing I can say. The people here are like my family. I haven’t even been homesick since being here because it feels like home. I like that the classes are small because you really get to be personal with professors. And it’s just gorgeous, it’s really gorgeous here, and Texas is not beautiful at all.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samantha Midkiff (Hillsboro, Oregon)

Before actually travelling to New York State, what did you think it was like here? What were you expecting the people would be like? Any stereotypes about New Yorkers that you believed in?

Well when I imagined New York, I thought of like, more city, but just since I researched more about Paul Smith’s I noticed that New York isn’t all city, there’s forest in there too. Just when I thought about it being all forest, I thought it would be more like my home, because my home is just forest as well. I just thought it would be more like home.  When everybody heard that I was going here, they all told me that New York people were going to be very rude and just very sarcastic. “Very uptight, rude, or just sarcastic”, that’s what they all told me, to prepare myself for going here.

 

What did you expect the school to be like, location wise?

Well I knew that I was going to be around a forest, I just didn’t know it would be in the middle of a BIG forest, in the Adirondacks. I never really heard of the Adirondacks. Just when I imagined Paul Smith’s I thought it would be less forest and more city, or more town.

 

Upon actually visiting New York, what kind of impression did it give you? Did your idea of the state change at all or was it what you were expecting?

It wasn’t what I expected at all, but it was good, like I was fine with it. When I arrived here for student acceptance day, everything I imagined was from the sky view of the cafeteria and Library- those were the only two buildings I saw- and I didn’t know where everything else was. I was just thinking that those were the only two buildings. When I got here it wasn’t what I expected at all, but it was a good thing. Everything was really good.

 

What are some of the stereotypes and expectations people have had about you whenever you tell them what state you’re from? And what is your usual thought or response to those ideas?

They thought that I would talk differently, when really I don’t have any other different kind of speech. I could tell the different speech of other people. When I got here my roommate, she said a “Clique” was a group of friends, and I didn’t really know what that was. Just word phrases are different than mine.  

 

I’m going to be honest, as your RA I stereotyped you as an outdoorsy-type because you are from a state full of big mountains, big trees, and parks, but here you are a baking major. What would you say to that? How would you correct me and teach me about you and your state?

I mean, I like to have fun outside. Like I am an outdoors type of person. I’m just not into learning more about the outdoors. I like to enjoy the outside world but not learn about it.

 

What are some of the weird things that New Yorkers do that are very different from your state?

Kayaking or boating is very different in Oregon. I guess like having a passport to Canada since it’s so close to Canada. In Oregon, we don’t really need passports. I think driver’s licenses are weird too, I heard that New Yorkers have to do 3 things to get a driver’s license while in Oregon we only have to do two things: get just a driver’s permit and then our license. For New Yorkers as I’ve heard they have to get practice, then their permit, then their license.  If you’re 18 and you get your driver’s permit, then you don’t have to take all those hours, if you feel ready then you can take the test to earn your driver’s license, that’s how it works. When you’re 15 you can get your driver’s permit, and then when you’re 16 you can get your license.

 

From the few months that you’ve experienced living in New York so far, do you enjoy it here? Do you ever regret deciding to attend college so far from home?

I don’t think I regret learning here, because everything here just seems so much more different than how Oregon teaches. Here it just seems more exciting and more hands on. I don’t really know how to explain it. In Oregon, you have more paperwork to do and here it’s just more hands on. I don’t regret leaving. I feel homesick sometimes because it’s so far away, but I know I can call my family whenever I need them or whenever I want to talk to them. I do miss them and I always count down the weeks or the days until break when I get to go back home.

 

Now the big question, why Paul Smith’s College?  Of all the places, you could attend, what brought you across the country to a tiny private school in the woods?

I knew I wanted to learn Baking because I had a long line of family that have been in culinary school. I was looking for culinary schools and there’s a lot of culinary schools in Oregon that I wanted to try out. There was just still a part of me that always wanted to travel for a long time. When I heard of Paul Smith’s, I had no idea, I just saw it as an ad on facebook, and I had no idea it was in New York, it was just there. I was just like “cool this is a great school” and then I found out it’s in New York and I was like “Woah, this expands my world!” So, I thought about it a lot, going here. Just thinking about what I wanted to do; I wanted to travel, I wanted to be a baker, I wanted to learn what I love and do what I love. I still want to be connected to my family and friends too, back home. Just expanding my world, and just going out there is a big step that I really wanted to take. Coming here has been really great, really fun, and it’s just new for me, and new is good sometimes. I just wanted something new for my life and this is a good new.

 

How did you hear about PSC?

Facebook

 

Do you think that getting a New York education will help you in getting hired for your future career?

I think so, because just how I heard of people getting internships here and getting jobs here from good restaurants. I just think once people hear that I learned a career in New York they’ll think “Woah, this is pretty interesting”. Like I said that when I thought of New York I would think city, when I talk about it at home, maybe they’ll think city too. So, that might blow them away. But still, I think that learning in New York will really help me too, because it’s not studying abroad, but it’s studying away at a good place that will teach you good stuff; Maybe even teach you more things that other schools wouldn’t.

 

Do you plan on building a future in New York State, returning to your home state, or going elsewhere?

I have been asked that a lot! I mean, sometimes my answer is “You know I’m just gonna wait and see what my future holds” But if I grow really comfortable with New York, or grow really comfortable with friends here, then I’ll probably think about having a life here. Or if I get a little too homesick, or if I do want to go back home, then I will go back home and do internships there because I know I was offered a lot of Baking internships back home. I do always think about what I’ll do after college; will I start an internship? Will I go and get a job and start my career off? Just thinking about those things after high school, “where will I be doing those things?” is the big question. I don’t know where my future holds, but I know what I would want to do after four years.

 

What is your favorite thing about Paul Smith’s college, the thing that really validates for you that you made the right choice in coming here?

I want to say Dunkin’ Donuts because I NEVER HAD Dunkin’ Donuts! But I think school wise, I’m really excited for winter because I heard that there’s going to be sledding in the canoes and ice skating on the lake. I’ve never been ice skating, and I’ve never been sledding! I know it’s really sad. So, I’m excited for winter and Dunkin’ Donuts!


Autumn Tallant (Asheville, North Carolina)

Before actually travelling to New York State, what did you think it was like here? What were you expecting the people would be like? Any stereotypes about New Yorkers that you believed in?

I thought it was all flat, like all the way up the state. The people, everyone in the south just expects them all to talk like they’re from the city, so when I toured up here and no one talked like they were from the city, my mom was really surprised and I was also kind of surprised. Mostly I just thought the state would be really flat and that the people would talk weird but they don’t. But, people are crazy drivers here.  

 

What did you expect the school to be like, location wise?

Exactly what it is, I was not at all surprised whenever I came up here and you could see St. Regis from the dining hall and everything.

 

Upon actually visiting New York, what kind of impression did it give you? Did your idea of the state change at all or was it what you were expecting?

When we first toured the school, we took a plane to Newark, New Jersey and then drove straight up that highway to come all the way up here. I was absolutely shocked that like an hour north is where all the mountains start; and they’re not really like mountains they’re more like hills, but I didn’t think the mountains would start until we hit the park. It was really cool to drive through all that.  I was not expecting that at all. We took the Northway and drove parallel to the Catskill plateau.  The state gave me kind of the vibe I was expecting, it just shocked me is that it’s not all flat until you get to the park.

 

What are some of the stereotypes and expectations people have had about you whenever you tell them what state you’re from? And what is your usual thought or response to those ideas?

Yeah, one that I’m a redneck, and I reply with “I live right beside one of the largest cities in western North Carolina”. I’m not a redneck.  Another one is that I have a really thick accent, which I don’t, it’s only kind of there. Like you can hear it on certain words. I don’t talk like my mom; my mom does have an accent. Also, that I talk really slow because I’m from the south, and I don’t. I’ve been told I talk really fast. Those 3 are the big ones.  

 

What are some of the weird things that New Yorkers do that are very different from your state?

Poutine. We don’t have that at home. Also, all of the sweet tea in restaurants is like powdered Kool-Aid sweet tea, it’s not like real brewed sweet tea with leaves. It’s really weird.  Y’all don’t have Chick-fil-A, it’s so freaking sad! It is utterly tragic. You people don’t know how to do BBQ either! BBQ is the sandwich; it is the pulled pork slathered in the sauce! A cookout is where you grill chicken and make burgers. Making burgers is not a BBQ!

 

From the few months that you’ve experienced living in New York so far, do you enjoy it here? Do you ever regret deciding to attend college so far from home?

I like it, except you don’t have sweet tea. I have been craving sweet tea. I haven’t been homesick at all yet. It’s kind of nice to be so far away and to just get out and be away from everything else. It’s nice to hike mountains that aren’t like the mountains back home.

 

Now the big question, why Paul Smith’s College?  Of all the places you could attend, what brought you across the country to a tiny private school in the woods?

The woods. That’s literally it. Like mountains that aren’t in North Carolina, that’s pretty much it. It’s really far away from home, and it has mountains, and there’s a lot of them. And you had the major I wanted.

 

How did you hear about PSC?

Well, this is my favorite story. I was sent a tiny postcard that had a picture of the school and said something about environmental science majors, that was it. And then I looked it up.

 

Do you think that getting a New York education will help you in getting hired for your future career?

I don’t think it makes a difference, It’s a college diploma and a degree.

 

Do you plan on building a future in New York State, returning to your home state, or going elsewhere?

More than likely in New York or elsewhere. Because the whole thing with networking for a job up here, it would probably be easier to get in somewhere if I already have my foot in the door than at home.

 

What is your favorite thing about Paul Smith’s college, the thing that really validates for you that you made the right choice in coming here?

Looking outside the window of the dining hall and seeing St. Regis every day. That’s a reminder that that’s the reason I came here. Literally it’s the mountains here, everywhere, and I can climb them whenever I want. It’s just like there’s so much here, like I have huge mountains back home and everything, but these are different. I wanted to get away and go somewhere that is like home, but it’s not home. It makes me feel like I’m at home.


 

 

 

 

Liam Boston (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Before actually travelling to New York State, what did you think it was like here? What were you expecting the people would be like? Any stereotypes about New Yorkers that you believed in?

Seeing as it was upstate New York I didn’t have any big stereotypes, other than I was going to a forestry based school so I was expecting a lot people who were outdoor focused and that’s what I ran into. I had done research on the school before even coming, and I could kind of tell that it would be a small well-knit community of people who, even if it wasn’t their major, would be there to help you. Like you connected with people not because you were in the same classes but because you were living together, and you were nearby.

 

What did you expect the school to be like, location wise?

Before pictures, I envisioned it just in the mountains, I didn’t envision quite as much forest. I didn’t have any big wild expectations for the amount of trees and water up here; I just pictured it out in the woods a little bit, nearby a town, within a couple of minutes at least. After pictures, I thought it was gorgeous, the amount of water, trees, and their variety and the fact that they shift colors so amazingly. I guess I expected a pine forest and we got a lot of leaves.

 

Upon actually visiting New York, what kind of impression did it give you? Did your idea of the state change at all or was it what you were expecting?

It was what I was expecting but it’s that moment where you know how something is going to be, but then you experience it, and it’s a hundred times better. I walked on campus, and I walked up to the desk for accepted students day, and I said, “My name is Liam, I was told that I have a packet” and five people around me instantly turn and go “You’re the kid from Minnesota!”. It was one of those moments where I was like, “I guess that’s rare”. Instantly they all knew my name; we were all chatting. The second I stepped on campus I felt like part of a community. It was very home-like and I felt like I was accepted immediately, and I wasn’t even a student yet. It felt like a community.

 

What are some of the stereotypes and expectations people have had about you whenever you tell them what state you’re from? And what is your usual thought or response to those ideas?

The accent, I don’t have it really, I have very small bits every once in awhile, when I say “okey dokey”.

 

What are some of the weird things that New Yorkers do that are very different from your state?

I have not heard it myself but I’ve been told that people go “yee yee”. I’ve never heard it on campus or in general. But people say that it’s the “yee yee” section of the world, but I haven’t heard it.  What the heck is that? “Yee yee”? That was something I hadn’t heard about before but people say it happens here. Oh, and it’s not soda, it’s “Pop”! Because if you leave it outside at any degree, it goes “BANG”.

 

From the few months that you’ve experienced living in New York so far, do you enjoy it here? Do you ever regret deciding to attend college so far from home?

Yes, and definitely not! I absolutely love it out here. So far it’s just been an amazing experience, even when I’m not having a great day and classes aren’t going well. I step outside and I go for a walk, we go camping for a night, or I go out on the lake with my boat. The environment calms me down here because it’s just so gorgeous. Honestly, the weather isn’t that much different. The only thing I miss about home is my boyfriend, but I call him. Other than that, I don’t regret leaving. Home is a plane ride away, so if I really need to, it’s not that hard to get there.

Now the big question, why Paul Smith’s College?  Of all the places you could attend, what brought you across the country to a tiny private school in the woods?

Well, when I started looking at colleges I used a program called College App, on which I filled out a lot of basic information, and then I could pick from a list of colleges that were either free apps, or paid apps (applications). So, I just selected all the free ones and started looking through, and the name stuck out to me, because all the other ones were a single name or the name of the states. “Paul Smith’s” just stuck out, so I looked at it and at the first picture looking down on the student center from the lake; from that moment I knew then I was going to love the school. I just started looking into it. Honestly I knew I was coming here from that first day of doing research. I was looking at other schools but the area, the people, the community, the fact that it’s small, the fact that everyone here is accepting of everything, and it’s amazing. Like I said I stepped on campus here and instantly felt like I was part of the community, and part of the group. During the same trip, the next day I was at Hampshire College, and they had a scheduled day just for me. There were people just there for me, and I didn’t feel part of the community. I felt less part of the community with people focusing on only me, than when it was 20 students in a classroom in a t-shirt. The school is very community oriented, and people oriented, instead of learning oriented. It is learning oriented but, the feel is very “person first”.

 

How did you hear about PSC?

The College App, an online website.

 

Do you think that getting a New York education will help you in getting hired for your future career?

I’m not certain ‘hired’ is the word I’d look for there, because I want to run my own kind of business. Yes, I believe that this school, this education, and this degree I get here will help me get to a point where I can do what I’d like to do with my life. Where I can run my own business, and take people out on the ocean.

 

Do you plan on building a future in New York State, returning to your home state, or going elsewhere?

Elsewhere, I want to work on the ocean; I want to work with people sailing. Honestly, I’m looking at the Caribbean, just leaving the U.S. entirely for a while. Minnesota is great, New York is great, I will probably be up here to visit every once in awhile. But, I love the ocean, it’s my calling.

 

What is your favorite thing about Paul Smith’s college, the thing that really validates for you that you made the right choice in coming here?

Well, if I were to name two things: Bellamy, Katherine. Honestly the community is what I was looking for, the teachers are what I was looking for, but the pieces that make it amazing are you and him. It makes everything better. Like I said, on those off days, on my own I would probably sink into myself and hide in my room, but he drags me out.

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