Sitting at one of the tables in the campus coffee shop, I could hear the conversations of everyone around me as I waited, focused and ready. So effortlessly, she came in, wearing a pair of light washed blue jeans and a simple sweater, placing her sunglasses on her head, as she came over and pulled up a chair to join me.
Hannah Devlin is a sophomore Fashion Merchandising major at Mercyhurst University and has always had a passion for the fashion industry from day one. I always found myself most intrigued by her roots, due to the fact that I myself am several hours away from home. How is it someone from the great city of Boston ended up sitting in front of me, nearly 10 hours away in Erie, Pennsylvania?
Before I even had the chance to meet with Hannah and find out more about her decision to attend Mercyhurst, her former roommate gave me a glimpse at the importance Hannah’s hometown has on her. “Boston is definitely a soft spot for Hannah,” Taylor said. “She never stopped talking about it.”
Always keeping up a very busy schedule between classes and her work-study position, I managed to grab her for a few short minutes to learn more about the secrets and challenges behind moving away from her home in Boston and starting a whole new life here on her own for the very first time.
Brie Darnall: What made you decide to attend Mercyhurst University?
Hannah Devlin: “I decided to attend Mercyhurst due to the FIT visiting program. I wanted the full college experience of attending a traditional university while also attending a city university.”
BD: What are some of the biggest challenges you face from going to college out of state?
HD: “One of the biggest challenges I faced was definitely being completely independent for the first time in my life. I’ve always had my mom by my side so having to stand on my own two feet was a big step for me. Knowing that I couldn’t just get in my car and drive down the street to see any familiar faces was a big adjustment for me at first.”
BD: Were there any doubts about leaving Boston?
HD: “It’s funny because when I first committed to going to college, I was so excited and could not wait to leave, but then the day before I had to set out, I begged my mom to not make me go. I applied to schools in Boston such as La Selle and The Boston School of Fashion Design, but neither of them felt like where I belonged.”
BD: What is the biggest difference you can see between living in Boston and living in Erie?
HD: “Fashion wise? In Boston, there are a lot more different street styles than in Erie. People are a lot more creative with their styling. Erie is a little more ‘plain Jane.’ Oh and the driving here is awful. Which is funny because people from ‘Mass’ are known for their bad driving so that says a lot.”
BD: After two years of living in Erie, does it feel anything more like “home”?
HD: “Mercyhurst feels like home! When I think of home, I think of Mercyhurst. It’s where my whole life is; it’s where I belong. Erie feels like home, but not in the same sense that Boston will always feel like home.”
BD: Would you say that after moving away from home for college, it’s made you grow to appreciate Boston more?
HD: “Oh, I definitely appreciate the food a lot more! And family time! Especially my little brother, Sean – I love that little brat. And no one here has the same love for Tom Brady that I do, sadly.”
BD: After hopefully attending school in NYC, do you see a future of moving back to Boston at any point?
HD: “When I picture my future, I imagine myself in NYC working with a career in styling. That’s my dream. However, it isn’t completely out of the question to possibly one day live in the city of Boston, I suppose.”
“No one quite screams ‘Boston girl’ the way Hannah does,” her current roommate, Amy, told me. After only a few short minutes together, Hannah had to be on her way again, but I already felt as though I had a better insight into the mind of a true Boston-er, and the struggles of moving so far from home.