For years I have loathed and lamented about Columbus. I've said it's too small, too homogeneous, too close-knit, too commercialized, etc. etc. But as my days come to an end here, I'm beginning to realize that perhaps Columbus isn't that bad. I mean, yes, it is lacking in certain big city aspects, but at the same time it's a city that functions so well as a small city with the amenities of a big city. From strictly a city planning perspective, Columbus is great as a place to get around. Pretty much the entire city can be reached within a 20 minute drive of anything that is going on. The downtown and surrounding neighborhoods are easy to navigate, yet they still have a distinctive charm. The city fulfills the necessity of a big city--major sports teams, great restaurants, unique and lively nightlife, culturally-diverse museums--yet it still maintains the charm of a city that is approachable.
Over my years here, I have overlooked this. I have only looked towards the next step; that is, getting out of here. But as that day approaches, I'm beginning to appreciate Columbus more. I'm realizing that it may not be my dream city, but it certainly could be worse. Memphis has nothing on the C-bus.
So with my last days here in Columbus before me, I am trying to make the most out of it. I am enjoying the friends I have made here (they are GREAT!) and embracing the city as it is. I am trying out not restaurants and experiencing neighborhoods I have never indulged in before. And you know what? I'm finding out that Columbus really isn't that bad. While I'll still never laud it as a world-class destination, I will always look back on it as a place that allowed me to succeed. I mean, how many other cities feature a top-ranked school with a ridiculously low cost of living? Very few, that's for sure. But Columbus provided that for me. It allowed me to receive one of the best logistics education in the world, yet I was able to do so without breaking the bank. And believe me, in this day and age, that almost means more than the education itself.
Chicago will be good for me. I am thrilled and excited to start a new life there. But, still, Columbus will always be the place where I become an individual, the place I grew up. It will always be the home that I never expected.