My Experience Coming to West Virginia from Colorado.

Having lived in the state of Colorado for almost all of my life (with the exception of the first three years that I spent in the neighboring state of Utah) I was ready to see new scenery. A friend of mine once said, “I think you’re foolish if you spend your whole life in one place…the world is gigantic – it’s a waste of time if you don’t try to see it.” I couldn’t agree more! Colorado is a wonderful place – and could possible the best state, in my opinion, but how will I ever know where I want to end up if I haven’t seen other places.

West Virginia and Colorado are very, very different! While Colorado is constantly being ranked the state with the lowest prevalence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. West Virginia is continually ranked as having one of the highest. Notably Colorado and West Virginia are both known for their mountainous scenery, but I have to admit, when I first arrived in West Virginia I found myself asking, “so… where are the mountains?” not realizing that the ‘hills’ I was surrounded by were indeed the Appalachian Mountains. Colorado is very flat, with the exception of the MASSIVE MOUNTAINS, which separate the Eastern and Western parts of the states. West Virginia is much different. Here, you are constantly going up and down these huge hills. The tree density in Morgantown is completely incomparable to that in Colorado, it is so green here! Climate is another huge difference! Just in the two months that I have been in Morgantown I feel like I have seen more rain than I saw throughout my entire undergrad experience in Colorado. The lightening and thunderstorms here are intense, to say the least. It was a shocker to me to not see irrigation and sprinklers systems in anyone’s yard. In Colorado it is hard enough to keep your lawn green with sprinkler systems because of water regulations, and here it is completely cared for by the rain. Another huge difference is the culture, which I learn more about each and every day. The final eye-opening experience that I have had since moving here would be the size of West Virginia University and the pride seen with the students, faculty, and just about every single West Virginia resident. I came from the University of Northern Colorado, a smaller Division 1 school comprised of about 12,000 students total. It lacked school spirit and good athletic programs (with the exception of boys basketball, who made it to the NCAA tournament in 2011). I absolutely loved my school and wouldn’t change anything about my time spent at UNC, but it is nice to be a part of a big school with tons of spirit and good sports teams. Figuring out parking and maneuvering my way through traffic has proven to be a struggle in itself!

Now, for the actual move across the states! From our starting point in Greeley, Colorado to Morgantown, West Virginia we covered nearly 1,500 miles and crossed through 8 different states! My boyfriend and I packed up our belongings into my car, his small truck (Toyota Tacoma), and a 5 X 8 foot U-haul trailer that we rented. Both of our moms met us in Greeley to join us on the trek across the country and as a final send-off. We ended up driving about 15 hours each day and made it here in two very long days. The first night we stayed in Iowa City, Iowa and the second night we stayed at the Hampton Inn in Morgantown. We made it a point to stop in South Bend, Indiana to tour the beautiful campus of Notre Dame! After countless stops at gas stations, fast food restaurants, and sleeping in hotel beds we finally arrived. We had our apartment lease signed prior to making the move, so the next day was our official move-in day. Although the drive wasn’t miserable I can honestly say I will not be driving home for holidays or breaks. Flying will be my premier travel source!

We have now been in Morgantown for a little over two months and have really enjoyed exploring a new city and state that is so different that what we are used to! I am looking forward to continuing my journey as a graduate dietetic intern at West Virginia University.

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