College experiences similar to childhood memories

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

ALONZO MACIAS-PEREZ, Channels Staff

Remember back to when you were a young kid and would go over to a friends house for a play date, dragged out by your parents to go to their friends place down the street or had to go to your relatives for dinner.

When you first got there you were the best-behaved little angel, and you were usually glued to your mom or dad’s hip if they were around. After about a half hour you began to express yourself a bit more, move around and familiarize yourself with everything around you. You slowly started stepping out of your comfort zone.

One hour in and you’re running around like a bat out of hell, and as comfortable as an old shoe. When it was time to leave you didn’t want to go.

For me, City College and Santa Barbara figuratively represent those experiences.

I lived my whole life in the quiet little town of Pacific Grove in California. My high school only had about 700 students, many of the restaurants and businesses were family owned and operated, and everyone was very much involved in the community. It is fair to say that just about everyone knew and was comfortable with each other.

After leaving all my family, friends and the town I grew up in behind to come to Santa Barbara, I resurrected some childlike qualities. I became quiet, shy, nervous, timid and tense like I would when I visited another home.

Santa Barbara is that spoiled friends house on the beach with the newest gaming console, every action figure out and a basketball hoop in their massive backyard.

As much as I wanted to go out and explore and experience all the great things Santa Barbara has to offer, I would go day to day only doing what I needed to do instead of what I wanted to do.

Two and a half years later and things couldn’t be any more different.

Now I’m that friend who comes to play all the new video game, shoot around in the backyard and completely overstay my welcome. I run around the house like I own the place. I feel as comfortable as I did my senior year in Pacific Grove.

I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and appropriately allowed Santa Barbara to grow on me. I’ve become accustomed to the beautiful sandy beaches complemented with the towering palm trees to the west, the vast astonishing mountain ridge to the east and everything in between.

Looking back at my childhood and thinking back on those play dates and visits, I realize that it wasn’t just the places, it was what happened while I was there and the memories that were created that will always stay with me no matter where I go.

I turned 21, watched the Golden State Warriors win a title that constructs the greatest season in the history of the NBA. I witnessed the Giants earn their eighth championship. I saw the Forty-Niners franchise go into a downward spiral. I watched Kobe Bryant wrap up his career in a legendary fashion (I’m a huge sports fan if you haven’t noticed).

I lost my best friend, met some of the greatest people and grew immensely as a person all while I lived in Santa Barbara.

Unfortunately, all good times come to an end. This upcoming fall I will be transferring to California State University, Long Beach. I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life and see a new part of this beautiful planet. But I’m sad to move on and leave a place where I have come to learn so much about myself. It is indubitably going to be a bittersweet moment.

Santa Barbara has without a doubt claimed a piece of my heart. I’ll cherish the memories and apply the lessons I’ve learned throughout my life journey. You learn through experience, and I’ve done just that here in Santa Barbara.

Long Beach now represents my mom and dad, and they are telling me it’s time to leave. And just like I would tell them during my days as a kid, I don’t want to.

But I have to.