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Life as a villager

If you look at the University of New Hampshire campus life statistics by The Princeton Review, you will see that our university’s “campus environment” is listed as “village.” Your first question may be, “What does this mean?” Ours was, too. A village is defined as “a self-contained district or community within a town or city, regarded as having features characteristic of village life,” with village life being a small community in a rural area.

To be honest, this definition does embody what living in Durham is like pretty well. When first moving to UNH as a freshman, the campusit may seem large, but  at the end of the daywhen it boils down to it, a total enrollment of around 15,400 students is nothing compared to schools with over 30,000  people enrolledstudents. After a few years at UNH, most students will soon realize that they know a decent number amount of their peers. Walking down the street to class goes from seeing all unfamiliar faces to saying hello to  several people along the way.

Living in a small community has its advantages and disadvantages; the first advantage being opportunity. In an environment where there are many places to succeed, having a small community is very beneficial. Anyone can easily network and work their way to the top, or to their end goal and become recognized for their hard work.

Another advantage is that life in a rural town, or “village” as they say at The Princeton Review, is very peaceful. Finding a quiet spot takes little to no effort in a town like Durham. Living in Durham also provides many opportunities to get outside and stay active. For instance, UNH is one of the few universities in the nation to have its own  forest, College Woods. The area is a place where students can enjoy nature, take walks, unwind and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of wildlife nature.

On the other hand, perhaps the biggest challenge of living in a village is that people don’t just go away. At the end of the day, a small community means that your life will center on other community members regardless of whether you enjoy their company or not. Conflicts happen and not everyone sees eye-to-eye. Although it’s okay to not be a fan of everyone, it is important not to not burn bridges.

UNH is small and working cohesively with others is important; you never know when you could need a former classmate or professor’s advice or assistance over the course of your four years here and afterward. An old roommate you weren’t fond of freshman year could end up being a future co-worker, teammate or even supervisor after graduation. A professor who once gave you a poor grade could come in handy with networking or even a letter of recommendation years later. The point is, assistance can come from unlikely places, and being easygoing through conflict is just good practice for life.

Though living in a small pond (so to speak), can feel annoying at times, it’s actually good practice for working with others in the professional world.  In the same vein, competing for jobs or leadership positions in a village like
Durham can also feel especially difficult. However, being up against the same talented people time and time again mirrors what it might be like fighting for a promotion at a future job.

All in all, what Durham lacks in size and population, it makes up for in community. Being a part of something small can be special. This is your village, Wildcat,  make your mark while you can.

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