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I have spent the majority of my life in Redding and even though I was not born here, I consider this city my home. I grew up, went to school, and lived the life of a typical teenager in Redding. I attended Grant Middle School and then studied at Shasta High School. Just like many other people my age, I was unsure about my life and what direction I wanted it to take.
I graduated from Shasta High in 2010, and college and the future did not really cross my mind until my senior year. Graduating high school is a very big and intimidating step in the lives of young adults, and for me, it was extremely exciting, but once the excitement wore off, I found myself very nervous about what the future had in store for me. I always knew that I did not want to move too far away from home, so I applied to a handful of California State Universities, not knowing exactly what university I wanted to attend. Eventually, I made my decision to attend CSU Chico.
Moving away from home and going out into the real world was exciting but tough. Even though Chico is smaller than Redding, I felt like I was overwhelmed by all the people, classes and stress. As timed passed, I began to feel more comfortable with my surroundings and more accustomed to college life. With this newfound relaxation, I found myself looking for a new experience that would challenge me. Much to my surprise, CSU Chico, the university I decided to attend last minute, is the number one college in California for Study Abroad. Even though I have traveled before, Northern California was my home, and it had never crossed my mind that I could live in a different country. In my sophomore year at Chico, I decided that this was my opportunity to challenge myself and take the next step towards my future. One thing led to another, and I found myself signing up to study abroad, and I was accepted to a university in Costa Rica.
As I sit here writing from Heredia, Costa Rica, my home for the last seven months, I still cannot wrap my mind around this dream that I am living. My life is a fantasy that I actually get to be a part of. Coming into this experience, I had no idea what to expect, and to be completely honest, I was terrified. Coming from a rather small town, I did not know what would happen in the future or what my options were. Now, I feel as though the world is in the palm of my hands. I have so much more perspective and I feel more open-minded. As a junior at CSU Chico, I am living in paradise while I further my education. I have never been happier in my entire life, and this experience never would have happened if I didn’t break out of my shell and go outside my comfort zone. It was hard, but worth it, so don’t be afraid.
Mychal Garcia is a 20 year old Chico State Junior who is currently spending a year studying abroad in Costa Rica. She loves to spend time with her friends, family, and her dachshund puppy named Rosie.