The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Santa Barbara offered me a new home, opportunity for fresh start

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

I never felt like I was part of a community until I moved out of the one I grew up in and came to Santa Barbara. 

Santa Barbara is a great place to move to when it’s your first time leaving the nest. This town has a very tight-knit community with overwhelming feelings of welcoming.

I have learned so much about maturing through my experiences and I’m incredibly grateful to be going to school here. 

I come from a small little farm town in Northern California called Davis, population currently residing at a steady 68,543.

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In all honesty, Santa Barbara intimidated me a lot before I moved here. I’d always heard of the beautiful people and the insane party life that came with the town and I couldn’t believe I was about to be part of it. 

It quickly became my new favorite place. My roommates and I immediately made friends with our neighbors when they volunteered to help us move our stuff into our upstairs apartment, just one example of how friendly everyone has been here. 

We continued helping each other move in and before I knew it, I was a part of a 15-person friend group. Each and every one of them feel like family to me and let me tell you I’ve been craving a sense of family for a while.

Even though I knew most of the people in my town, I never felt like I was part of a community.

Summer in Davis smells like cow manure and pollen, but the town does have its own little charm to it as well. Davis is like one of those small towns where a Hallmark Christmas movie takes place. A place where downtown is about a mile wide and everyone knows everyone.

When I was 13, my worries consisted of who had a crush on me and when Justice was going to drop a new hot clothing line. That was until my parents separated and my older sister and role model got checked into a psychiatric care center.

My life was completely flipped as I navigated the hurdles of being a teenage girl in the 21st century.

As my family fell apart and my sister left for college, I was lonelier than ever. Everything feels like the end of the world when you’re stuck in a boring, small town and your family life is tough.

Back at home I felt isolated, but I was never alone. I’ve had a best friend since seventh grade. As tweens we dreamt of moving out of our dreadful little town to somewhere with a beach and nice views. 

But Santa Barbara feels like home and makes me happy.

This year was my first Hanukkah and Christmas away from my family. I expected to lack holiday cheer due to feeling isolated but it was quite the opposite. In an attempt to get into the holiday spirit, my friends and I decided to go to a Christmas event in Isla Vista, a place we normally go to party. 

Students and volunteers gathered around in a wonderfully lit-up park decorated with glowing reindeers and big inflatable snowmen. We exchanged small talk with strangers while drinking hot cocoa and eating free churros provided by the YMCA. A mariachi band played as my best friends and I decorated Christmas cards with our warm churros in hand.

I hadn’t felt that warm, cheery, nostalgic family feeling in so long but as I sat there with my best friends in a new town with a bunch of new people, I felt more at home than ever.

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