As a tour guide for Whitman I often get asked about how it feels to go to a small college that has a close community which is far removed from the excitement and opportunities of bigger cities. My typical answer addresses how Whitman has so many exciting activities and events going on that I don’t really have the time or the desire to leave campus for weekends. The benefits of living in a small college town cultivate a very close knit community where Whitties spend a majority of their time around each other. When students don’t have the opportunity to run off to the city for the night or go home to see family and friends every weekend, the environment on campus becomes more cohesive and supportive. You really get to know people on a deeper level and develop an appreciation for the close bonds that Whitties have with each other.
That being said, every once in a while you have to get away for a day or weekend. I just returned from a weekend in southern Oregon. After a hectic start to my senior year, I was really looking forward to having a weekend of relaxation, cooking, and hiking. Even the nine hour drive each way didn’t dissuade me. I rarely leave for weekends, but every so often when I get the chance I enjoy the break. And it makes the return to Walla Walla and Whitman that much sweeter. Driving into Walla Walla at 1am last night, I felt a swell of pride to see the Whitman College sign when I pulled off the exit. Tired from the long drive I came home to a card and bag of Bright’s chocolates from my roommates welcoming me home. It’s moments like these that make me realize how incredibly lucky I am to be part of this community. Even when I need those small breaks and weekend trips away from Whitman, I return with a renewed sense of pride and gratification in being a Whittie.