I’m adjusting to my “new life” in Birmingham rather easily. “Across town” no longer suggests a 10 minute drive; instead, such a journey could easily take half an hour and actually end in another nearby city. I take the interstate to get around, and rush hour is actually something to avoid.
Put simply, life here is different than in Tuscaloosa. As I crossed a busy street on UAB’s campus tonight, I realized my college life has reached its third phase.
Florida State was phase one. I had a fairly typical undergrad experience. FSU’s a big state school, complete with the party school ranking and big football wins. (Don’t those usually go hand in hand?) The city was a little more than your average college town because of its state capital status, but it was nothing too unusual. (Well, save for the ruckus from the 2000 presidential election. But y’know, there’s an exception to every rule.)
The next stage of my college career was the University of Alabama. I was surprised by how much this campus differed from FSU. These southern kids really threw me! (But more on that later…) Though I lived in the Tuscaloosa area for just over a year, I absorbed the atmosphere of a town that may not exist if not for its University. (Sure, it was once the state’s capital. That was a really long time ago…)
Though I’m an Alabama student for four months more, the backdrop of my academic life is now Birmingham. I realized several months ago how much I love city life. I now celebrate that life daily. It may sound strange, but I find it exhilarating to drive past the towering downtown structures. I decided today that I’d probably take up residence in Southside if I were to stay here long term.
I dropped by UAB’s campus library this evening. The battle to find a parking space was far greater than that behind Alabama’s library (whose name seems to have escaped me…). When I emerged, books in hand, I was greeted by a bustling city street. It’s just so… different. And I love it!
It’s official: no more Tuscaloosa for me. “City life” is where I’m at.
(Yeah, okay. Even if I live 20 minutes from downtown. Details!)