After living in Halifax for four years, the question I get most often is, “Do you miss it?” That’s a loaded question, and for several reasons. Although I miss the town’s scenery, seafood and the feeling of being a student at both the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University, I don’t miss being unable to drive around the town and not having any family in the same province. I miss having roommates – there were 10 of them over four years, some of whom I’m still good friends with – but I do not miss having to move in and out of a house or apartment twice a year!
I’m sure you can think of many cons (and just as many pros) of the school you went to or town you lived in, but in the end, I think what matters most is the experience you had and the memories you’re left with. 🙂 Now that I’m living at home in Toronto, I long for the days when I had my own place; being in Halifax for so long taught me that I can survive on my own! I may slice my thumb open on a cheese grater once in a while (twice, actually) and my savings may take a major hit if I live near a Sephora or a Thai take-out place, but being responsible for my own furniture, groceries, finances and transportation taught me a lot about myself and how much responsibility I can handle. Then again, the major perks of living at home are getting home-cooked meals and not having to pay rent, so I’m tempted to live with my parents for another year or two to spend time with them and, of course, save money while I work/study!
If you’re in high school or university and have never lived away from home, I highly recommend it. Even if it’s just for a summer, it’s so exciting to branch out and see how you fare in a different city or country! If money in an issue, staying with a family member or good friend in a new city would also be a great experience. You’ll make new friends, try new activities, taste new foods…some of the friends you make and activities you discover may even become lifelong interests. I ended up going on two beach holidays with one of my roommates (hey, Rachel!) because we became such good friends; to this day we still plan trips together and I consider her one of my closest friends.
I’ll be graduating from Dalhousie soon and I’m really looking forward to going back to Halifax. Not only will I finally get to wear that gown and cap and receive my diploma, it’ll also be great to catch up with old friends and see what’s changed in the city since I was last there!