Introducing Edge’s newest blog, “State of Mind” by Conor Grey, class of 2014. Originally from Smyrna, Tennessee, Conor will be blogging about what it’s like to be attending college far from home.

The beginning of the year is always an entertaining time for me. This entertainment is largely derived from the king of all icebreaker questions: Where are you from?

To start, this question in itself makes my skin crawl – a sentence should just never, ever end with a preposition – and when asked of me, the question usually provokes an incredulous face and interrogations reminiscent of the Gestapo.

To me, Nashville is not that far from Erie. Some  GU students  come all the way from the Virgin Islands, Europe or even Asia, and yet I receive incredulous stares because I’m from Tennessee. While my hometown may be culturally removed from Pennsylvania, it’s still geographically pretty close, right? Maybe you agree or maybe not, but I believe it all boils down to how one thinks about it.

At any rate, I don’t really come from Nashville; I come from Smyrna (Smer-nah not Smear-nah), a suburb of Nashville, though I find it easier to just say Nashville. And while “pop” is a nonexistent word in the South – we use the word “coke” for every type of “pop,” thank you very much – and sweet tea prevails, there is still much common ground to be had with the rest of the United States. I mean, come on, we all have toilets.

Being an individual from out of state, I have come to integrate myself into Erie life rather easily. It probably has something to do with not having a southern accent. I’m a resident assistant, active member in many clubs on campus and have many friends on campus.

I will admit at times I feel the ache of homesickness. The lushness of Tennessee with its waterfalls, mountains, sprawling fields, coursing streams and familiar faces pulls at me, but Pennsylvania has a charm all its own. There are, of course, the friends I’ve made at Gannon, but also so many other endearing memories that I’ve formed on campus, during visits to Presque Isle, or even in the cold of winter. I just think this all shows how college is a spectacular time. It should never be ruined by having the wrong state of mind.

If you’re an out-of-stater who is interested in Gannon and have some questions or apprehension about attending, contact me. I’d love to talk about how awesome a place Gannon can be.