From the Editor

Mitali Sharma, Editor-in-Chief

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After the start of junior year, the focus has gone more and more towards college. The question of where to go has become an icebreaker at formal dinner parties, a debate with family at the dinner table, and a touchy subject that comes up once in awhile during casual hangouts with friends.

 

Where do we want to go? There are two parts to that question: which school attracts us and where we want to truly go.

 

Although many of my friends and classmates won’t dare to attempt an answer at the first part, the second part seems overwhelmingly set in stone; after high school, it’s a terse goodbye to St. Louis.

 

I’ve heard this in all forms whether it be a simple “yeah, I want to go somewhere new” or a blatantly-stated “STL sucks.” In the eyes of these people, St. Louis lacks culture. It lacks entertainment. It lacks the urban scene that entices them towards the big names: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles. “Anywhere is better than St. Louis,” they’ll say.

 

I can’t say I am totally innocent in this matter, nor will I try to. In middle school and freshman year, I seemed to have that same fixed mindset. St. Louis had nothing to offer me. It did not have the artsy culture that made the big cities so appealing. It did not even have entertainment or good food. But what had I seen at that point?

 

We’ve talked a lot about the idea of the “Clayton Bubble” in our past issues. This bubble inhibits us from seeing the real St. Louis. I was just a middle school kid who thought she knew how little her hometown had to offer. I had seen absolutely nothing at that point.

 

I had not attended LouFest for three continuous years to watch locals come together for great music, food, and drink. I had not gone to concerts at the Pageant, bought records from Vintage Vinyl, or shopped at many of the boutiques on the Loop. I had not gone to the Grove, to find artsy local eateries with good music and good food. I had not eaten at Death in the Afternoon while watching families do photo-shoots, people play guitar, and kids splashing in fountains at City Park. I had not gone to Sump Coffee in South City to get amazing coffee and equally amazing vibes. I had not climbed the walls of Climb SoIll, an indoor rock climbing gym, which has the same chill vibes. I had not attended the International Festival, to appreciate the beauty in having so many different nationalities in one place.

 

No culture? St. Louis is a place immensely full of culture, a culture that is even more unique and special as it is our culture. Chicago doesn’t have this. Los Angeles doesn’t have this. New York doesn’t have this. Not to say that those lack any culture but just to point out that St. Louis has its own and the idea that it doesn’t is just absurd.

 

I’ll be honest, here. When I think about college, staying in St. Louis is still not in my top choices. But it’s not the city that’s pushing me away. After being exposed to the STL culture, I’ve fallen more and more in love with this city. In fact, I’m excited about being able to come back during breaks if I do leave. I’m excited to come to this place to go out with my friends and experience this culture.

 

So, a message, for those who say STL is boring and sucks:

 

You’re entitled to your own opinion but go out. Get out of Clayton. Get out of that mindset for a day. Go to get breakfast and coffee at a local coffeehouse. Go seek out creative boutiques. Go watch local musicians perform. Go to a reading at a local bookstore. Go live a bit. Then look me in the eyes. Perhaps you’ll still tell me that St. Louis has no culture and you can’t wait to get out, but I’m pretty sure that won’t be the case.