For lack of a better title I will call this "Perspective"

Reading through a long thread discussing conservative vs liberal colleges has caused me to do a little thinking.

There are parental concerns about schools being too conservative, too liberal, too religious, too secular etc. Maybe some of us jump to conclusions about schools (as well as many other things in life) because our perspectiv is limited

Here are two examples from my much earlier life that demonstrate error because of limited perspective.

1 - One day in my pre-teen life my brother showed me a picture of a skyscraper from an encyclopedia and told me it was in Africa. I did not believe him. Why? Because my only exposure to Africa came from watching Tarzan movies.

2 - In my teen years I went on of bus tour of US historical sites. Coming from the intermountain west, and my only exposure to the east being from TV and movies, I was shocked to see open country in places like New York and Illinois.

Just a little food for thought. Don’t know if it will taste good or not.


Haha, same! As a Californian kid, my exposure to the East Coast was literally when someone won the Showcase Showdown featuring a Trip to New York City! I had no idea where Niagara Falls was in relation to NYC, but let me say that I was quite surprised by how lovely it actually is in the rest of NY state. (If anyone reading this has never been to Watkins Glen, prepared to be amazed.)

But if are we talking about college perspective, well, as a Californian kid who attended a CC then transferred to a CSU, that was another surprise as the parent of (then) college-bound children. At least in the area I live in, CC is sort of viewed a last resort. At my CA high school, NONE of my friends “went away” to college. Everyone I knew attended CC and transferred, and if they were a real hotshot, they maybe went straight to a CSU.

My adult but youthful-looking niece is a hair stylist in Claremont and meets kids all the time from the Claremont consortium. She is constantly asked where she went to college, or where she currently attends. She replies with “I’m a stylist and I didn’t go to college.” I saw her recently and she asked me why people always ask her these questions. The people she meets are more often than not from the East Coast. She truly doesn’t understand why anyone asks. I told her it’s just a talking point. But she isn’t wrong, at least in my option, that people on the East Coast are generally more obsessed with where one attends college.

My own college experience was very much about completing a task. I commuted and viewed college as nothing more than a necessary drudge to getting a degree. Both my kids attend/ed residential colleges. I think they are having a better experience than I had during those years.


Couple of anecdotes. My son had a work study job supporting the research of students working on biology PhDs. This was at a state flagship in the northeast. One of the students he worked with was a Chinese national. She had the most amazing questions for my son, much of it dealing with guns. She was shocked he had no gun, since she’d been taught that we are all packing heat. He explained to her that in the northeast, attitudes about things like guns were different than they would be in other states.

My daughter attended a university in upstate New York. She had a friend at her campus job from rural Texas. They would wait for him to come back from lunch just to hear about his “adventures”. He was having his eyes opened. One day it was “Guess what I just saw—a girl with purple hair!!” Another day it was " Guess what—I just had lunch chatting with an Eye-talian fellow–nice guy!"

College should expose you to people of all kinds. Based on where you live, you may not encounter many people of color, or Muslim folks, etc. There was a tag line from one of the Muppet movies that my kids always remembered, “Pipples is just pipples” (people are just people).

I have grand nieces/nephews who only associate with kids from families with the same conservative views as their parents. They only play with kids from church or from the church-run elementary school. There is not much diversity there if any. What happens when they meet a Muslim woman wearing a hijab for the first time? Or encounter a Latino person? These people will look unlike anyone they’ve ever met before–they really do live in a bubble. I totally see them going off to a Christian college when their time comes–what are the odds of them getting to know a gay person??

1 Like

Ha, Lindagaf! I also am a product of the California CC system, and most from my eclectic HS went to our local CC and then transferred to a UC. A California friend who taught here at U of Wisconsin said she never mentions that she went to a CC for fear of ridicule. My offspring rolled their eyes when I suggested something similar when in HS. One recently surprised me by saying that she should have gone to our local tech school, as she’d be done with the loans by now if she had. But…their LACs helped make them the eclectic people they are now.

Will add a different perspective on study abroad. For the kids in my neighborhood who tend to travel abroad with family, have Rotary Youth exchanges, etc, study abroad is a bit of an educational waste. Fun, and they learn how to get around the world, but for sheer language immersion, working on farms in France made my D fluent in a way that her semester abroad did not.

Many of us from the West tend to think of anything east of the Mississippi as “East Coast”. Having moved to the Midwest, my perspective has changed.

One of my favorite memories was hosting a Thai and French student simultaneously. They both agreed their least favorite part of the USA was bathroom stalls, as doors are too high off the floor and too far from the ceiling. True, in both Europe and Asia stalls offer more privacy.


Both of my kids went to a small private school (120 graduating class) from K-12. They loved their experience, but both of them ended up at a large uni with 13K+ students. They still gravitated to people who were similar to them, but it did help to get out of their bubbles a bit.

I haven’t spent too much time out on the east coast. Met a gal this weekend who has lived in NH and Midwest for big portions of her life (she was approaching 70). I asked her to explain the big differences in people. She said “east coast people are more standoffish”. She mentioned names being more important for schooling as well. Takes me back to a post not long ago where someone said how “everybody knew” all the great schools in a certain east coast state. I had to admit I maybe knew of only 4 and thats because Ive done some recent research about colleges. Before then, perhaps only 2 or 3.

Im happy my kids attend a school where all paths after graduation are celebrated. As much as my kid wants to get out of the midwest for something “different”, I do worry a bit how he will interpret the new experiences he would have.

Filling my mind in with real sights and experiences vs Hollywood, hearsay, or book versions is the main reason I love traveling. We’ve found that people are people everywhere, good, bad, and ugly. It’s fun getting to know the good folks all around. On top of that, our planet is gorgeous - such similarity and diversity everywhere.

If there’s one more common thing out there… city folks tend to be more rushed and “hire things out.” Country folks tend to be more laid back and “do it yourself.” Islands tend to align with country folks, as do some countries, esp if rural in general. Major cities on islands can get trickier. Plus, people are people everywhere, so this is all in general and doesn’t fit every human in every location. Having exceptions is a rule in itself!

When one lives in a bubble it reminds us of a zoo - you see a segment of life, but not real life.

1 Like

When I first went to Colorado I was startled to find that one town could be miles away from the next town. Conversely, when my friend from Colorado visited me in Massachusetts she was surprised that one town ran right into the next and the borderline could run down the middle of a street or even an apartment building. It’s all what you’re used to. And indicates how important it is to get out and see the world.


We lived in the UK for two years while dh was on an expat assignment. My British neighbor thought that Thanksgiving must be a much more significant holiday in the US than Christmas because she always saw news clips of our President pardoning a turkey each year.


I remember being in Europe in the mid 90s when we lived in Chicago, and I can’t tell you how many people asked us if we personally knew Michael Jordan ; ).

1 Like

I’d tell 'em I went to school with him! I used to say hi to him on campus and “good game” like a dork.


I grew up directly across a river from Canada. You could see the country from the road in front of my mom’s house and more locals went there than to a different state (for restaurants, Ottawa was the closest major city, etc). A boy from my school went to college in VA a couple years after I did. One day I went to visit him and his roommate asked me if it was true that Canada has snow year round with an 8 foot wall built from snow at the border. Canadians supposedly all drove around with skis on top of their cars too.

When I scoffed at it the roommate told me, I didn’t think so, but X kept telling us it was true.

Sometimes people say liberals should go to more conservative colleges and vice versa to gain perspective. I often suggest trying out another part of the country. Interestingly my younger son went to Tufts and came out far less liberal than he went in. One thing he got involved in was a program called Allies which aims to improve civilian-military relationships. ALLIES | Tufts Global Leadership You can gain perspective lots of places if you look for it.


I live in North Carolina and I think we are pretty well-rounded here. My kids know folks of all stripes and polka dots. We have traveled a bit (though not as much as I would like). They haven’t been to NYC yet (need to try to do that, maybe this summer) but have been to LA and SF in CA.

They know kids who go to community college and kids who go off to school and kids who join the military and kids who just go straight to work. And they certainly don’t look down on kids going straight to community college.

They know plenty of folks on the far left and plenty of folks on the far right. They have had many colors of hair themselves.

Forgive me being dense, but I don’t understand this. Are you using “islands” the way some people use “bubble” or do you mean actual islands?

It is somewhat annoying to still have to deal with people (especially from the Northeast) putting down the South. I heard it on the radio recently (SiriusXM, Rich Russo the Jersey Guy on The Underground Garage). Geez, c’mon!

Actual islands. Hawaiian and Caribbean Islands, etc. Those we’ve been to are very laid back similar to where we live in rural US. It’s why they appeal to us for snowbirding. We just have to figure out which one.

On a different note, H spent a lot of his youth near Wilson, NC. Great BBQ at Bill’s and now Marty’s. We just ate some on Father’s Day. We buy it frozen when we’re in the area and bring it back with us. I think we probably compared BBQs on a different thread not too long ago, but it just crossed my mind again.

1 Like

Meeting the truly rich/famous/connected (at least the parents) can be a very eye opening experience. If you go to one of the elite schools, it is very likely that you will meet some. They are also at the other schools, but at a much lower density. I am taking about kids of billionaires, people who you see on TV/ movies, or are in the news.

I should probably add that many islands can also be quite diverse, esp if they attract retirees. Rural areas not so much. It’s just the laid back “feel” that really aligns.

Ahh, I guess you are talking tropical islands. I don’t know much about those. We do travel to NC coastal islands quite a bit and they vary. We are headed to Ocracoke next week and it is a nice mix.

I am not a BBQ person myself, but do respect it as one of NC’s foodways.

How so? We have met a few of those people (someone high up at Amazon worth billions). I am very uncomfortable around super rich people myself. (My husband knows the Amazon people.) I am more comfortable with people who are famous, but maybe not that rich. The NC native folks I know tend to be real down to earth even if they are wealthy. I know a couple of minorly famous people in the music and film worlds.

1 Like

It’s definitely not just tropical islands. The Maritimes of Canada is similar. I don’t recall any island in the outer banks being very rushed. Which one(s) would you say is/are?

H and I have mused that there’s something about big water that slows everyone down. We see it as a good thing, hence, wanting to spend more time on one as we retire.

1 Like

Oh, I just thought you were saying some were more conservative vs liberal. I guess I was reading into “country”. Yeah, I am not into rushed. Certain areas of the OBX are busier in comparison to other areas of the OBX (the Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills area of the northern OBX is busier than Hatteras or Ocracoke islands), but all are chill compared to big city life.

Of course, Manhattan is an island, too.