Chico gives outsiders an opportunity to grasp new perspectives


Photo credit: Jaime Munoz

*Note the following claims are personally-based from my own views and not from interviews or research.*

It’s Saturday afternoon. My roommate and I walk out of Great Northern Coffee, otherwise known as “train-car-cafe,” and take a sip of iced coffee. We unlock our bikes and pedal past the fraternities and sororities and downtown until we get to Lower Bidwell. Life is good, for now, and it’s all due to Chico.

Every new city you go to is going to give you the opportunity to gain new perspectives. Whether or not you grasp those new perspectives is up to you. I highly suggest trying to at least adapt to a new place, especially one like Chico. Even if you hate Chico initially, or constantly during your time in Chico and/or at Chico State, hear me out.

One amazing thing about Chico is how it feels small, even though it’s a somewhat large city for Northern California. It took me a couple years to realize it, but Chico’s small-town feel really gives newcomers the chance to reflect, think and analyze themselves and their intimate surroundings. Sometimes just thinking and having unique individual thoughts, helps people grow and learn the most.

Obviously, the people you meet, the friends, family and the teachers or mentors you learn from are going to shape you as well. But in Chico, I think most of us have a good amount of down time just to ourselves. This time may be a change of pace for someone from a big city like LA or San Francisco, but this time may actually help that person breathe a little.

Even if you hate the area or people, if you work on yourself while you’re here is all you can do. Don’t sulk in your schedule or surroundings. Be self-aware, be self-critical and be confident in your passions. Be determined and test out healthier practices and outlooks. If you think Chico is boring, try walking downtown or to a park just to observe your surroundings and to reflect on your own life.

The power of observation is extremely powerful. It can be potent, hilarious, sad, enraging, happy, confusing, clarifying, breath taking and especially surprising, if you pay close attention to your environment. If you mix attention with spontaneity in your free time, your journey to the destination may just become your favorite part of your day. Sound cliche? It may sound so, but it’s worth your consideration because usually we all often get wrapped up in our consistent schedules and routines; so much so that we don’t stop and think about ourselves and our surroundings often enough.

Random to internal observations aren’t a solve-all solution for everyone. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s always worth trying to observe and learn from your surroundings. I find obscure observations to be almost infectious. My roommates and I go to school, parks, bars, and around town just simply to absorb and observe new people and places. It sounds weird on paper, but our passion to “people-watch” has helped us realize our own biases and assumptions.

In short, I encourage everyone to try to see the Chico and Chico State communities as a chance to learn about other cultures, people and places. While in Chico we can all learn a lot about ourselves and the various perspectives around us as well.

Alex Grant can be reached at [email protected] or @AlexThomasGrant on Twitter.