The New Ulm complex and why I need out.

When did the notion of summer vacation become so…monotonous? Probably about two weeks ago.

I remember the days of my younger self, when I was a little pre-teen, when summer vacation was a time for joyous celebrations – bonfires, pool parties, sleep overs and staying up past 10 p.m. Now, my summers are spent yearning to be more than just a 20-something lounging around my hometown. Sure, I have two jobs, but what good is two jobs when neither make me feel like I should stay in New Ulm? I love my internship, and I enjoy my waitressing gig, but I don’t feel satisfied while living in this town.

There is so much more I want to do this summer, but the town I live in has, very little to offer me besides a roof over my head and job security. Last night, as I was going to bed, I was texting a friend from school. We were discussing what we were looking forward to in our future. Mainly, just not living in small towns and living on our own.

A lot of people love New Ulm for raising children, but after the age of 16, the town has nothing in it for those who want to do something with their lives. It’s unfortunate that many of my classmates decided to attend colleges within a 30-mile radius of the town, because now they don’t get to go out and experience the world outside of New Ulm.

The New Ulm complex is perplexing to me. How could anyone want ┬áspend her entire life in the same area that refuses to change? We’re told about the New York State of Mind…but what about the New Ulm State of Mind? Easy – You graduate from New Ulm High School; attend Minnesota State University, Mankato; get a job at Kraft/3M/AMPI; marry someone you went to high school with; repeat with your child’s life. There is more to life than New Ulm. For some people, that is fine. That is what they want in life, but I just don’t want that for me.

I cannot thrive in this environment much longer. The mindset of everyone is one that I cannot understand. I do not understand why the town and its people does not want to progress. Yeah, our German heritage is pretty kick ass, I won’t deny that, but really – This town is still acting like it’s the 1970s.

I just need a place where I can thrive. I need a place where I can have stimulating conversations that don’t revolve around drinking and farming. I need a place where I can explore what is out in the world. I need some place that has more than 14,000 people in it.

I just need to not be in New Ulm. So, Des Moines, I’ll see you in 53 days…And until then, I’ll read my books and my newspapers, and I’ll try and not miss the freedom being at school gives me. Or the feeling I get when I see the State Capitol when I enter the city, or the sight of Old Main when I enter Dog Town. It’s like the excitement I had as a 12-year-old relocating to a new town, and a new life – and seeing Hermann the German for the first time. It’s that feeling when you get when you see the sunrise in the morning – joy and happiness for something that exists outside of hopes and dreams – the happiness for just living.

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