When I first told my parents that I had decided that I wanted to go to school across the country, I don’t think any of us really knew what I was getting myself into.

While they had fears and concerns such as my health and safety, I was just worried about the fact that I still didn’t know how to do laundry.

Being on my own for the first time was hard, but not impossible…
and yes I learned how to do my own laundry.

Whenever I came home for the holidays, my friends would all ask me a million questions usually regarding whether or not I had met Justin Bieber.

To be completely honest, I became somewhat embarrassed after answering “no” to all of their questions.

I went to school in California for four and a half years.

I didn’t learn how to skateboard or speak Spanish,
I didn’t learn how to surf or go to the beach everyday,
I wasn’t an extra in a movie and I didn’t get discovered by a producer,
I wasn’t surrounded by famous people or become best friends with the Kardashian’s.
I didn’t go to Disneyland after class or get super tan or dye my hair blonde or go shopping all the time…

But I did learn a lot about myself.

And I did meet a lot of amazing people.

I learned how important family was and how “we’ll be here for you no matter what” is really true.
I learned that not everyone has the luxuries in life that I assume to hold.
I learned that the thirty seconds it takes me to step out of my comfort zone leads to the most beautiful friendships.
And yes there were palm trees everywhere and I did go to the beach a few times…
But the same sun sets and although it is beautiful, it sets.
I learned that if I want something, I need to go get it myself and that it is more than OK to ask for directions.
I learned that no one does this whole “life” thing on his or her own and we are all sharing space here on this planet just trying to get by and pretending to be cool.

Human beings are much more alike than they are different…
We all wake up and look at our fully-stocked closets and claim that we have nothing to wear and get a large fry on our way home from work and discard the evidence before going inside the house and we all look at pictures and pick out every little thing that isn’t perfect…

We all hurt.
We all feel.

During my time in California, I learned that not all of us survive and not all of us live…
and that there most definitely is a difference between surviving and living.
At some points, I was barely surviving.

I had my life in my own hands and I didn’t want it.
I didn’t want it because I was so terrified of making the wrong decision that I just decided to not make any decisions at all.
I was given opportunities, but didn’t take them.
People passed me the ball and I gave it right back.
I never looked at my options.
And think.
Think about all the times I’ve dropped the ball and realizing that IT’S OK.
Everyone drops the ball multiple times in his or her life and that’s just how it goes.
But that doesn’t mean that I should stop working hard, calling for the ball, or working hard to get open.

It has taken me a while to realize that the most valuable player in my life is ME.
I have worked hard to earn that title and need to continue to work hard to obtain it.

Although I didn’t meet a ton of famous people in California,
I found myself.
And for that, I will be forever grateful.

One Response to “MVP”

  1. Steven Aronin says:

    So insightful Jess. You are a special person who is the MVP in lots of others’ life. So happy that your CSUF experience was one that allowed you to grow, mature, get to know yourself and begin to learn your life path.

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