Central Connecticut’s first line of attack comes in the form of a tangible silence; as the last stronghold of the straight-backed, stiff upper lip society that fueled the insurance industry through the better part of the 19th century, Connecticut grasped onto a certain breathlessness that commands the entirety of its identity. Hartford rose to prominence on the coattails of the line of wealth running between New York and Boston, and its centrality prompted the birth of arguably the most pompous, elusive, and apathetically sophisticated communities on the East Coast. When I get the opportunity to march down the streets of the city that is pretty much always sleeping, Hartford silently reminds me that I can feel completely alone when surrounded by people. This isn’t necessarily because I feel alien; the city simply chooses to identify as 125,000 individuals rather than a singular city.
I should take a minute to mention that I wasn’t born into this—I’m an admittedly embarrassed Michigander who was thrust into New England the summer before my senior year of high school. By the time I was born, Michigan had already settled itself into a 200-year-old pattern of complacent mediocrity and aged tiredness. Moving to Connecticut supplied me with the unique opportunity to become familiar with being unfamiliar; being willed into existence in one of the bleeding-heart bedroom communities that created America, the word “stranger” was distant and unobtrusive on my everyday life. Connecticut was the first time in my life that I had ever been made to feel foreign.
It’s for this reason that I fell in love with the state; I didn’t just adapt to the stuffy, painfully introspective society of the east coast—I reveled in it. The move supplied me with the inalienable opportunity for self-reflection on a greater scale, and I seized it with the full intention of figuring out the inherent difference in mentality that allows New England to tick with such a palpable and intriguing lack of enthusiasm. I wish that my great transition would have supplied me with a more tangible change in myself than adopting the words “mad” and “wicked” into my vernacular, but I find that becoming a genuine Nutmegger is simply an inescapable mentality that arises as a consequence of being a sexually frustrated teenager in The Constitution State.
Whether or not you realize it, being on a college campus in Troy has a raw vitality driven by the presence of 5,000 other kids that are somewhere near your own age. In my experience, Connecticut has allowed me the quiet release of feeling alone; the opportunity to consider myself aside from a larger community serves as an individualistic dream in the midst of the four years I’m committing to the institution of higher learning. I’m happy to walk alone so long as it gives me the opportunity to become a more self-aware person. In consequence, going home has become one of those things that I genuinely look forward to, and for that reason I can’t help but feel a hint of remorse as I prepare for this upcoming semester.