Why Fairbanks, Alaska is the Raddest Place on Earth

Posted by Valerie 

I first came to Fairbanks with the intention of going to school, getting some requirements out of the way, and then moving on to someplace else. I was looking for someplace warmer, someplace different, someplace that wasn’t the same state where I’d lived my whole life, dreaming of the big city.

As you’ve probably already guessed, that backfired. I fell in love with Fairbanks the way Alicia Silverstone falls in love in Clueless, with a friendly sort of banter merging into an epiphany of everlasting love with Paul Rudd. 

"Oh my God. I'm in love with Josh!"
For me, this epiphany came when my parents visited me in the spring (in Fairbanks, still winter) of my freshman year. My mom, shivering under three coats on our way to eat dinner, sighed and said “Valerie! How can you stand it?”

 My response was “I know, isn’t it great?”

In that moment, I realized with perfect clarity that I don't want to be anywhere else. That my heart had unabashedly given itself to this frozen wasteland 200 miles from the Arctic Circle. That Fairbanks was home.

I love that in Fairbanks, you can wear hats--warm hats--from September through April. I love the feeling of snuggling under a pile of blankets, knowing that if you walk out your front door, the temperature will drop 110 degrees. I love the “we’re all in this together” atmosphere that develops in a community where there’s no guarantee that your car will start in the morning. I love the aurora, quietly making the long dark nights beautiful, and the clarity and intensity of the air on the frigid nights when you’re most likely to see colors in the sky. 

The warmth of the people here more than makes up for the chilly temperatures. People at UAF aren't accepted for their differences; they are celebrated and embraced for them. Being "weird" isn't the exception, it's the norm. And as a result, I'm consistently surrounded by unique people who understand that their individuality is what makes our little Fairbanks community vibrant, people who you love and who love you back. Unconditionally.

This is my home.

PS: Just a note to all you prospective students out there--Fairbanks is always an option. It could be your home too!

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