My parents met in Eastern Oregon when my mom was teaching middle school students on a Native American reservation and my dad was working with the tribe to help them maintain rights to their land. They had me and two years later we moved to Eugene where I have lived ever since.
I’m now a senior at the University of Oregon and my mom jokes that my elementary, middle, high school and college are all within a few blocks from each other but it’s true. I’ve been a Duck fan for my entire like. I even attended my first Oregon football game at three months old while strapped to my mother’s chest in a baby Bjorn.
When I tell college friends that I grew up in Eugene the first thing they ask me is, “What is it like going to school so close to home?” To be honest, I love it. I didn’t originally want to go to UO. Like many high school seniors I wanted to get as far away from home as I could. I applied to all out of state schools but after encouragement from my mom I reluctantly toured the University of Oregon. By the end of the tour I was sold. Being a stubborn teenager I didn’t want to tell my mom she was right, but UO had everything I was looking for in a college. It had a beautiful campus, a strong journalism program and lots of school spirit.
My freshman year at UO I made a point to push myself out of my comfort zone. I figured if I was going to go to school only a few minutes down the street from where I grew up I needed to try something new. I lived in the dorms, joined a sorority and took every opportunity to get involved on campus.
Three years later and I have realized that staying in Eugene for school didn’t hold me back like I had originally feared. I’ve made incredible friends, interned at cool organizations and taken on a few leadership positions along the way. And I’m not gonna lie, being able to call your parents when you need groceries or a ride across campus when its raining is a major perk.
As I’m months away from graduation I think about how living in Oregon these last 21 years has shaped me as a person. Eugene will always be home but I look forward to the opportunity to move somewhere new and call a new place home.