Changing: How a college student stays connected to her home while going to college

Jayden Ludwig

Philadelphia is home to some of the country’s richest history and diverse culture. From different generations and groups sharing their culture in areas like Chinatown, and the South East Asian Market at FDR Park, to historic landmarks and museums such as the Liberty Bell and the Constitution Center, to sports teams and their fans running the city after a major win. If you were to ask someone about Philadelphia, there is not one single answer to what makes this city what it is.

One of those things is the colleges and universities that are located in Philly. One of the city’s high-ranked universities is Drexel University, which has 25.5 thousand students from all over the world. Drexel is home to many students from Philly and those who may be in the city for the first time. Lillie Volpe (she/they), a first year game design student at Drexel University, has lived in a small neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia for her entire life. This is her first year living away from their home in the Northeast and on a college campus.  

“Living as a college student on campus is pretty interesting, there’s a lot of events and tie-ins with other organizations and stuff to do everywhere you look to the point it can get a bit overwhelming.” Volpe said when describing what living on campus feels like. 

Living in and going to school in Philly makes it easier for her to see family and friends. It’s not something every college student has the opportunity to experience. 

Volpe felt a huge culture shock moving from a small neighborhood to a huge college campus.

“Well Bridesburg is a small neighborhood and Drexel is a HUGE campus that has a lot of stuff just to do.”

The hustle and bustle makes things a little overwhelming for her but being close to home has made things easier. 

“Being right in the middle of University City and 20 minutes away from my home makes it so I never feel too far away from my family and having that option to leave whenever feels both liberating and reassuring.” she added. Volpe visits her family every other weekend and during academic breaks in the school year. 

In her neighborhood, Bridesburg, tradition is very important, every year the neighborhood comes together for multiple events. Most recently that was the Bridesburg Memorial Day Parade, the neighborhood has held the parade since 1946 making this the 77th parade. The parade consists of multiple neighborhood organizations and neighboring ones. The parade means a lot to people of all generations in the neighborhood including Volpe and her family. 

“Since Bridesburg is so tight knit and everyone knows everyone, our Memorial Day Parade means a lot because of its cultural significance” she added. 

Being a college student any amount away from home is never easy but Volpe has managed to make the best of it. “I recommend [going to college close to home], especially if you feel home sick often”. -Lillie Volpe