Culture Shock––At Home

In Features, Latest News by Kate Cyr

Home is where one finds comfort, stability and belonging. So when that gets picked up, thrown into the trunk of a car, and tossed back down again, it tends to get a little mixed up and messy. This may be exactly how out-of-state students feel as they make the transition from their childhood home to the new, strange town of Point Loma.

While it’s common to hear of students studying abroad who get culture shock (which is the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is in a new environment with different customs), nobody really talks about how unsettling it can be to receive culture shock while still living in the U.S.

Chriskott Todd, a freshman from Boise, Idaho, experienced how strange life could become just by moving a couple states away.

“Coming to PLNU, I felt like I had nothing to offer,” said Todd. “Every activity my new friends did, such as surfing or skating, I didn’t even understand the basics. I felt like I was starting from scratch. Coming to PLNU has taught me there is more than one way to live life. I’ve learned people can pursue different hobbies and lifestyles but still have the same goal in life.”

Every city has different customs that kids grow up accustomed to, so moving to another area brings a certain amount of discomfort as one figures out their new home. Moving away from home can affect people in many different ways, explains psychologist Jess P. Shatkin, MD, in a study by New York University, saying that there are multiple challenges for students, including fitting in, balancing social life and work, and knowing when to ask for help.

Todd said that with the Christian community on campus, he felt like he had a common connection with his peers, and that brought him a lot of peace in such a chaotic time.

Another out-of-state student, Brett Kelly, agreed on the importance of community. Kelly, now a senior at PLNU, explained how his life at Loma developed.

“Having grown up in one town in Washington my whole life, I became accustomed to a certain way of life,” said Kelly. “For me, coming to Loma made me adjust to a more fast-paced California culture as well as adjusting to a new college life. Although it was a culture shock, the community that Loma revolves around was fundamental in helping me grow and adjust.”

Kelly points out how important it is to find where you’re most comfortable, and figuring it out from there. Out-of-state students face many challenges from such a chaotic move, but in a place like Southern California, and with a community like Point Loma, comfort is almost always found.

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