The Collegian

Lessons learned in a small town

Rachel Astleford

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Rachel Astleford

Recent conversations with peers have made me begin to reflect on the little town in South Dakota I grew up in. 

People seemed to be surprised at how few things I had in my hometown. Others were just surprised at what I had never done before, or couldn’t do until now.  

Before college, I never would have thought it might be strange to others that our town didn’t have a single fast food restaurant.

 I never thought it might be peculiar to others that the word “community” did not just mean a group of people who live in the same area, but instead neighbors who come together to support one another no matter what.

I grew up in White River, South Dakota. White River is a pretty special little town to me. 

I can honestly say you will meet some of the most unique, genuine people in that little town. I’ve come to cherish that more and more as I’ve spent time away at college.

Some of my college friends grew up in suburbs or in the heart of cities. I love hearing their stories about what it was like to be raised in an area like that, especially since that seems like another world to me. 

It makes me realize how unique of an experience it is to be raised in a small town in South Dakota. I personally believe it teaches you a lot of lessons. 

Perhaps I had to learn those lessons the hard way; nonetheless, I’m glad I learned them. We all truly come from different circumstances and different backgrounds. 

That’s one of the things I love about meeting new people. I don’t care what you dislike about where you grew up; tell me what you love about it. 

Tell me funny stories involving your family. Let me learn what makes you the person you are. In my case, a population of 587 is what shaped me into the person I am today.


Rachel Astleford is a nutrition & dietetics major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected].

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