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A new beginning is always desired, but not always available. Moving away for college is many students’ dream “the thought of being on your own to make your own decisions, getting to be who you really are, and getting away from an unpleasant past.” In my situation, moving away from home was the worst decision I could have made. I thought that by moving away I would erase my past, and all of my problems would go away, but in reality life followed me wherever I went.
When I was three years old I lost my father to a car accident. I don’t remember much because I was a little girl, but I do know how hard it’s been growing up without a dad. I always wondered what his side of the family was like because after my dad died, they moved to Sacramento and lost touch with my family and I. I knew that if they wanted to know about us they could try and contact us, but I always felt guilty for not trying to make an effort to re-connect with them. It felt like I was disappointing my dad. My decision to apply to Sacramento State was because I knew it would be an opportunity to get to know my dad’s family, but I made sure I had other options as well.
My high school life wasn’t amazing, but it also wasn’t bad. I knew a lot of people and was very involved in school, but I always felt like I was missing out on something. I had freedom, lots of friends, and a boyfriend but a part of me always felt like I didn’t know who I was. I knew who people thought I was, (a girl who appears to be stuck up but in reality is down to earth) and what my family and friends expected me to be, (a girl who fights for what she believes in and doesn’t let anyone bring her down). I remember watching movies and reality shows in high school about teenagers, and I always thought that their lives were so much better than mine, but in reality there wasn’t much of a difference.
My boyfriend in high school was your typical tall, blue-eyed, quarterback who every girl had a crush on. We dated all through high school until halfway through our Senior year. We had discussed applying to the same colleges because we believed that we were “in love”. Once the time came to apply, he decided that he wasn’t going to apply to any school that I did because he wanted to play football and he wanted to be recruited. Truth is he was never that good at football, so the only offers he got were from small colleges out of state. During this time I found out that he, the guy that I was so “in love” with was cheating on me. Not with one girl, not with anyone I didn’t know, but with multiple girls whom I knew. Was I surprised? No. Was I hurt? I was devastated. Then and there is when I knew I had to get out of Santa Cruz, which is where I am from. I didn’t apply to any schools nearby because I wanted to start over and not be “the girl whose boyfriend was cheating on her all along.”
The wait to hear back from schools to know if I was accepted or not couldn’t have been any slower. I checked my email and my mail constantly to see if there were any acceptance letters. In the meantime I had started working at a restaurant called Ristorante Italiano to save up money for college. I told myself I couldn’t fall for another guy because I was going to move soon. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic who thinks fairytales exist, but at the time I was so hurt I never wanted to be with anyone again.
I met Alonso working at the restaurant, but he was older than me and is my friend’s brother, so there was no way that being friends would lead anywhere else. At least that’s what I thought. My first impression of him was that he was very good looking, but I thought only in my dreams would he ever fall for me. The more I talked to him, the more I realized what a gentlemen he was. I had to remind myself that I could not fall for him. We slowly started hanging out on the down low because I was seventeen years old, and he was twenty two at the time, and he knew that I was planning to leave Santa Cruz as soon as I graduated. Eventually we were both falling for each other, and time began to go quicker. We decided to start dating and right away I trusted him. I don’t know how I was able to fully trust him after what I had just been through, but there was something about him, his honesty, his smile, I could tell he cared about me through his eyes. I knew it was different from any other guy.
My acceptance letters came early May, and I was suddenly lost. Was it right for me to leave when my life was starting to make sense, or was it right to continue with wanting to start over? I knew one thing for sure. I was not going to go to a community school, but the closest school I applied to was Sacramento State. I was faced with a big decision to make and unfortunately I was running out of time.
As I had mentioned earlier, I was always involved in school, and my senior year I was the Senior Class President, and the Chair of the Prom Committee. I had been planning the prom since the beginning of the year and of course the theme had to be a fairytale. Now not only did I have to decide what school to attend, but also had to figure out how to convince my principal to allow my boyfriend to attend prom because he was one year over the age limit. I was becoming much stressed, but I was not going to give up. Prom had to be amazing. It was the one thing that I had so much hope in. I worked day and night on it, and my classmates were expecting an unforgettable prom.
I should have seen it coming, but I thought since everything was “looking up” that my principal would make an exception for my date. She was so rude; she didn’t even give me a chance to explain why it meant so much to me. It killed me inside knowing that I had worked so hard to plan an amazing night, and now I had no date. A girl in my class was bringing a date who was twenty-five years old, four years over the age limit, but he had a fake ID, so it worked out for him. I tried the same strategy, but for some reason my principal just didn’t want my date to come. Perhaps it was something personal? Being honest in the end had gotten me nowhere but extremely stressed. It was a week before prom, and I felt like my life was over. I couldn’t stop crying for the next few days, and to make matters worse I broke out in stress hives all over my body. I literally looked disgusting, and it tore me apart emotionally. There was no way I was going to prom now and not being able to see the final outcome of all my hard work drove me into a depression.
The last month before graduation was emotional in positive and negative ways. I missed school for two weeks because I knew everyone would be talking about prom. I literally laid in bed until I had to go to work then repeated the process for two weeks. I had become so distant from my family and friends that I felt alone. I could tell that I was hurting my mom by not talking to her, but I wasn’t ready to talk to anyone. One day I got up, and I decided I was going to attend Sacramento State, so I clicked “accept” in my student center, and just like that I was about to begin a new journey. Before anything though, I knew there were two last things I had to do: find out the exact truth about my dad’s death and figure out the future between my boyfriend and I. So I did what I had wanted to do for a long time but never had the courage to do. I went to the public library to ask for the newspaper articles around the date of my dad’s accident because I knew there were a few. I have to admit I was scared they wouldn’t have them because the articles are about fifteen years old, but they did. On his way to work on Cabrillo Highway there were horses on the road because an employee at Wilder Ranch did not properly lock the gates. A driver ahead tried to alert my dad, but it was too late. A horse jumped on top of my dad’s car killing him instantly. I knew that reading the articles would only make me upset and fill me up with anger, but it was something I had to do. Everything at home reminded me constantly of my dad. Knowing I was leaving to Sacramento gave me hope to finally be able to cope with the death of my dad.
I felt bad that I had many things going on emotionally. I don’t think my boyfriend deserved to have to go through my mood swings, but it brought us closer. He never once turned his back on me and was more than willing to try and make our relationship succeed. To be honest I was confused. Clearly a lot of bad things had happened to me, so why did an amazing guy want to be with me? I felt like he was too good for me. We had already been together for a couple months and we hadn’t yet fought or argued. Our relationship was too perfect, and I didn’t know if I was possible to be this happy every moment I was with him. All my problems seemed to fade away for as long as I was with him. I knew I was falling in love, but I was too afraid to accept it. He took that fear away by telling me loved me and surprising me with a gorgeous promise ring. He promised to be faithful, and to do whatever it took to make our relationship work while I was at school.
The day had come where I would be starting over in a new city. I was moving to Sacramento and moving in with my uncle, my dad’s brother whom I hardly knew but had much desire in getting to know. I had just graduated and was exhausted over the last semester I had just had, and I was starting to feel really sad about leaving my family and boyfriend. Saying goodbye to them was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I knew I would see them again, but I had a feeling some things wouldn’t be the same.
Two weeks after I left Santa Cruz I discovered shocking news on Facebook. Since I had left the Restaurant they decided to hire a new employee to replace me. Never in a million years would have I thought that my boyfriend’s parents, the owners of the restaurant, would hire his ex-girlfriend. I was furious. I felt betrayed by his parents and by him for not telling me. It’s pathetic that I had to hear about it on Facebook. Now not only was I sad about being away from home, but I was worried. I didn’t know what her intentions were, but I could only imagine. My boyfriend didn’t like the idea of her working there either, but he didn’t think it was that big of a deal. This bothered me because it was a big deal to me.
Living with my uncle is not what I had expected at all. He looks identical to my dad, which is a constant reminder of my dad, and he’s shy, so we hardly talk. His wife at first would constantly ask about my dad, and it bothered me because it’s a sensitive subject. I feel like I’m living in a stranger’s house, and I feel alone because all I do is go to school and then go lock myself in my room. I knew I couldn’t spend my weekends locked in my room wondering if my boyfriend was working with his ex-girlfriend. It was only a matter of time before I would go insane. It was making me extremely homesick. I couldn’t even talk to my mom on the phone without wanting to burst into tears. I decided the best for me would be to go home every weekend. It’s hard driving back and forth, but it’s what I need to do in order to feel happy.
My idea of college was too much like a Hollywood movie. I don’t want to be involved in the whole college scene. I have known who I am all along I’ve just had to learn to let it show and not care what other’s think of me. I’m a strong, independent woman, who has a sensitive past, but it’s all made me stronger. Leaving Santa Cruz didn’t eliminate any of my problems or erase my past. It’s impossible to delete them, the only thing possible is to learn from it and move forward. I regret not applying to a school close to home, but that is another life lesson I needed. I will soon be able to transfer and be with my family and boyfriend whom I truly cherish and bring happiness into my life. Until then I have to take one day at a time and focus on doing good in school which is what college is all about, isn’t it?