Student’s move to California marks life-changing decision

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Jack Davies, Channels Staff

Over the summer, I had to make the toughest decision of my life.

When my parents told me that our family was going to move all the way across the country, I was enthusiastic for a change. Seven years later, I felt far overdue for a move back west.

Moving from St. Helena, California to Charlottesville, Virginia was a big change. I moved from the wine country to the countryside. It was a tough adjustment for a little kid. I wanted to go back to my nest. Although I was excited for a change, I wasn’t ready for it.

“It will only be two years,” my parents said.

Two years became seven years away from my favorite state in the country; my home.

At first, the biggest challenge was making new friends. I had gone to the same elementary school of 40 kids until halfway through my last year of sixth grade. I didn’t realize that making friends wasn’t a given, as I always had the same group of friends.

Eventually I got settled in my new school, which was an all-boys school. By the time I got to eighth grade, I decided it was time for me to experience public school for the first time so that when I got to high school, I would at least have an idea of what to expect. Eighth grade marked a lot of firsts for me such as attending a public school, meeting new people and beginning to see girls as not just the opposite sex with cooties. It was a difficult transition because I had to spend it making new friends yet again in a completely new environment. However, the toughest thing about eighth grade was having to deal with the constant arguing between my two parents.

My parents divorced that year. I was not upset by it. In fact, the divorce made everyone in the family happier.

I began to have a lot more excitement in my life during my last two years of high school. I sacrificed being in a group with the most popular kids in school and chose to befriend people who I enjoyed being around instead of people that would make me be a “cool kid.” The choice ended up making a great difference in my life as I noticed that I was around a lot of good people.

The whole time I was in Virginia I wanted to be back in California. My best friends and family were there and I greatly missed the shocking beauty that the Napa Valley beholds.

My stance on leaving Virginia changed drastically during the end of my senior year. When I started thinking about leaving all of my friends and my girlfriend behind, it made leaving more complex. I debated into summer on whether or not I was going to stay and take a gap year.

After talking to many people about the big choice I was about to make, I began to realize I was going to hold off my dream of coming back to California only because I was scared to lose my friends, again.

My grandmother was a big influence in my decision. I respect her opinion as my only living grandparent and she is the sweetest person alive. She told me that no matter what I decided to do, nobody else had the right to be disappointed in or judge me because that would be the most important choice I would ever make.

Looking back, I am thrilled with my decision. That being said, I have also come to realize that Virginia was an awesome place to be. I was so consumed by my eagerness to come back home that I didn’t truly ever learn to accept my new home. If Virginia was all I had known, then I would still be there now.  However, when I’m in California, there is no place I would rather be.

Don’t let the fear of letting go chain you to a life that you don’t want to live.