Maura Linehan is a native of Mt. Lebanon and a graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in psychology. Since graduating, she has returned to her home town and started her career with UPMC Asbury Heights.
“Bloom where you are planted.” I took this sentiment to heart after graduating from Robert Morris University this past May. Moving from school to career, I realized how much I was shaped by the place where family, friends, neighbors, schools and sports formed a community. While new graduates often think about how much they would like to escape their roots, I realized all the advantages of making my home in my hometown.
As I started my job search, it was exciting and more than a little scary to deal with another fresh start, but moving miles and miles from home had very little appeal. While I was at Robert Morris, being 30 minutes away gave me a solid base to operate from while learning what it meant to be independent. That combination worked for me, and I was able to achieve my educational goals while fostering personal and professional relationships, which was only possible because that safety net let me work this high-wire act with a little self-confidence.
It seems that I’m not alone in wanting to stay home. According to the US Census Bureau, Allegheny County’s population has been virtually unchanged between 2010 and 2018, while Mt. Lebanon lost about 1,000 residents over the same time period. While that could be viewed negatively, it also shows that though people are moving, many remain close. My own family is an example—my brother stayed in the county when he started a new job, but he did move to another town to make his daily commute more manageable.
I’m glad to have him less than 30 minutes away, but I feel even more fortunate to have landed my own job right here in Mt. Lebanon. With graduation come and gone, I knew that those years of weekend commuting home had kept me connected to my roots, and I secretly hoped the pieces would fall into place so I could stay and grow and contribute.
I was not born in Mt. Lebanon, so I was never quite sure what to make of my peers who were the latest in a multi-generation family who all grew up here and attended the same schools. Now, I see why. Being able to stay in my hometown has reignited a sense of pride in where I’m from and excitement about the chance to be the next generation to grow our family’s roots.