50 States for 50 Students: California
What is your name?
Which state are you from?
Have you lived there your whole life?
Yes! I’ve lived in the same house and the same town my entire life.
Describe your state in three words.
Beautiful, diverse, and wild.
Describe the people in your state in three words.
Warm, independent, and tough.
Are you proud of being from your home state? Why or why not?
Yes, I’m proud of being a Californian. It is such a beautiful, huge state. It’s hard to talk about California as a whole because the state and the people are really diverse. California has a little bit of everything: mountains, country, beach, city, desert, and farms. There’s endless things to do. The mindset of Californians is really cool too – they want freedom and independence. It’s also cool growing up in California because it is almost as west as you can get in the U.S. It’s the wild west!
How did growing up in your state affect your childhood?
My hometown is a little beach and farming town. There wasn’t much to do except spend time outside. So my childhood was full of hiking and surfing and camping. Growing up in California also made me a really relaxed and easygoing person. Nothing is fast-paced in my hometown. Everyone was chill and very kind.
Food + outdoors = perfect day
What kind of local traditions did your town have?
The Fourth of July is a really big deal. I would always hike a little hill above the beach to watch the fireworks above the ocean. There’s always tractor pulls where the local farmers would soup up their tractors and drive them down mainstreet. Old, souped up cars were also a huge deal so there would be old car parades a few times a year.
What was the culture like in your home state / town?
Because we’re so far west, I think there’s a kind of beautiful wildness to everything. Californians are very independent and spontaneous. There’s a huge emphasis on adventure and hard work. The biggest aspect of Californians is their chill personality. No one’s ever in a hurry.
What kind of relationship did you have with your neighbors?
When I was a kid, all the kids in my neighborhood were boys. Since I have three brothers, I would always be stuck with a bunch of boys. So we’d always play war and cowboys and cops and robbers. We’d ride our bikes around the neighborhood. Now a lot of my neighbors are older, but we still know most of them. We always watch out for each other and share tools when we need it.
What was your favorite thing to do in your home state / town?
I loved taking pizza to the beach and watching the sunset. Sunsets over the ocean are unreal. I also loved doing sunrise hikes and getting breakfast afterwards. There’s a theme here: food + outdoors = perfect day.
Are there any foods that your state is famous for?
California is very agricultural so we have a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables from all the farms. I don’t know if we’re famous for it but our fresh berries and peaches are so delicious! Oh, we’re probably famous for Mexican food and seafood too.
It’s the wild west!
Is there any slang from your home state that you use frequently?
We have a lot of funky surfer lingo. I think I use it more when I live in California and I’m surrounded by people who talk like beach bums.
Do you have any local celebrities?
Zac Efron grew up in my hometown! It’s my claim to fame. He went to a neighboring high school and started his acting career at the little local theater. Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos, lives in my town too. His son went to my high school.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your home state?
My favorite part is how beautiful and open California is. I miss all the wide open spaces and rolling green hills. I also love the people. They are so kind and easy-going. My least favorite part of California is probably how expensive it is to live there.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of Colorado?
My favorite part of Colorado is the snow! Although there’s plenty of snow in California, I didn’t get any by the beach. I love that I can go snowboarding every weekend during the winter. And I love that Colorado has all four seasons. My least favorite part is how flat Colorado is when you aren’t in the Rockies.
What drew you to CCU / Colorado?
I really wanted to try living in the mountains and snow. The outdoor adventure really excited me. I was drawn to CCU specifically because of all their scholarships!
How has living in Colorado changed your lifestyle?
Colorado has made me appreciate how beautiful the different seasons are. I love the beautiful colors in the fall and the snow during the winter. Colorado has definitely made me more resilient to the cold too.
No one’s ever in a hurry.
If someone were to visit your home state, what would you recommend they do?
I would tell them to go surfing at the beaches in San Luis Obispo, my hometown. Then I’d tell them to do a road trip up the coast through Big Sur and San Francisco on Highway 1. Then head inland and go hiking in Yosemite Valley National Park and Sequoia National Park.
After graduation, do you plan on staying in Colorado, returning to your home state, or going somewhere else?
I’m really open to anything! I think I’ll travel for a while after I graduate. I really want to live in Hawaii for a while. Eventually, I think I’ll come back to Colorado. If I can afford it, I would love to move back to California too!
What are the most common stereotypes about your state and are they true?
A lot of people think California is only hot beaches and big cities. There are actually so many cold mountain areas and huge farming communities. People also think Californians are really rude and stuck up. Of course, there’s rude people everywhere but I think most Californians are really kind and down to earth.
What is the most common reaction you get when you tell people where you’re from?
People are either really excited about California and say something like, “Wow! I’ve always wanted to go to California” or they scoff and say, “Ew, California sucks.” Usually the people that hate California have never actually been.
What is something surprising about your state that most people don’t know?
I think people would be surprised that there is so much empty space in California. You can drive for hours and hours in California and never see a house or town. People would also be surprised that the tallest mountain in the contiguous states is in California – taller than every 14er in Colorado!