Thursday, August 27, 2009

#47: Saying they are from Chicago when they are really from a suburb

Because Chicago is the largest city in close proximity to Notre Dame, it goes without saying that many students hail from the Chicagoland area.  These students love the city they call home.  They grew up on Michael Jordan, live for the Bears, think Kanye West is the greatest rapper of all time, own a copy of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and can’t wait for the day when they can legally drink an Old Style within the Friendly Confines.  However, while these students say they are from Chicago, more than likely they are from one of its numerous suburbs. 

Notre Dame is unique because of the wide range of places that students come from.  There are students that hail from the east coast, from the west coast, from the south, from the Midwest, and from Texas; and each of these student groups have a different way of expressing where they are from. 

People from Texas might tell you what city they are from, but they are more proud of their state as a whole.  People from California will be sure to differentiate between NorCal and SoCal.  People from the greater New York City area might give any number of answers including New York, Brooklyn, Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut, and even New Jersey.

Likewise, people from northeast Illinois will more than likely say they are from Chicago even if they live roughly an hour outside the city.  The conversation goes something like this:

-Where are you from?
                -I’m from Chicago, how about you?
-Oh, I’m from Chicago too, which part are you from?
                -I’m actually from Vernon Hills.
-Where’s that?
                -It’s a suburb, up towards Wisconsin.
-Oh, well uh, I’m from Humbolt Park.
-Is that near Wrigleyville?

Students from the suburbs say they are from Chicago because that is the place with which they identify themselves.  Even though most of these students have never actually lived in the city and really only know enough about the city to get from the train station to Grant Park and Michigan Avenue, they identify with the city in the same way that people from Texas identify with their state and people from California identify with their region.

While this process of self-identification might not be the most conducive to giving friends and new acquaintances a perfect picture of where they are from, students from as far reaching places as Gurnee, Plainfield, and Crete will continue to tell people they are from Chicago and they will continue to be proud of it.


  1. It's spelled "Humboldt Park," broseph.

  2. I tell people I am from "south of chicago" because no one has heard of my town.

  3. I am from Crete the island in the Mediterranean? Wouldn't that be confusing?