Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Student leaves behind friends but keeps unforgettable memories


I recall tears streaming down my cheeks at the tender age of 10, only because my dad suggested we move.

I couldn’t even imagine leaving my friends then. As I’ve grown up, however, I’ve realized life is a cycle of constant hellos and goodbyes. It’s full of enlightening beginnings and heartbreaking endings. That’s growing up, man.

I’m now adult enough to pack my bags and fly 3,000 miles from home. I’m adult enough to go four and a half months without a hug from my mother or a kiss from my almost 5-year-old nephew.

By living in Chico for a semester and leaving my friends behind (something I would’ve never done 10 years ago), I’ve made new friends and fond memories.

I’ll remember sitting outside Plumas Hall every Wednesday with my homies Maddie and Nate, discussing the few porn stars we’ve met. I’ll remember the dinner nights full of Thai food or sushi with my favorite guy. He and I wrapped up in a blanket burrito, watching the moon glow, as the eclipse bathed the golf course in blood red light. These memories are forever etched into my heart.

This summer the cycle of hellos and goodbyes continue as I fly to Bainbridge Island, Washington to intern with YES! Magazine, a mere two weeks after returning to my New York home. It’s terrifying to go where I’ve never been, but it’s exciting too.

Sure, that familiar fear and doubt of leaving home and living in a new place consumes my body and drowns my mind, but I convert those negative feelings into positive ones. Time on this earth is limited, and it’s up to the individual to make the most out of it.

Some students may be interning, graduating or leaving home this summer. They should feel excited to embark on a new life journey and expand their horizons.

It’s OK to be afraid. It’s OK to make friends and plant roots in a location, even if the roots must be pulled in a few months. It’s whack to stay within one’s comfort zone and spend time alone without meaningful friendships.

The world is humanity’s playground, and I’m trying to swing on every swingset with someone swinging by my side, whether it sits on the East Coast, West Coast, Eastern Hemisphere or Western Hemisphere.

As for the people in Chico who’ve claimed a special spot in my heart, this isn’t goodbye. Our paths will cross again. That’s the beauty of growing up. Our parents don’t decide if it’s time to move anymore. We do.

Yessenia Funes can be reached at [email protected] or @yessfun on Twitter.

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