Last March, my family and I took a trip to go visit my dream college; Humboldt State University. On paper, Humboldt was the ideal school for me and was located in the middle of the Redwood forest and five miles from the ocean. I left New Mexico in cheerful anticipation, hoping that Humboldt would be everything that I expected it to be. We headed west on what would be a three day trip and, within a day, I began to recognize the difference. Little by little, the ground began to morph from parched, arid terrain to a soft, humid landscape. Along the highway small patches of green began to become more and more frequent, as did the appearance of small animals. As we entered into northern California, the world around us began to change. With each mile came a breath of life as the trees grew lush and the air grew thick. By nightfall of our second day, highway five lead us to the Redwood forest.
All around me I caught glimpses of tall, looming, trees. In the darkness I could distinguish nothing but the dark shapes of something majestic. As the road weaved downward, the trees passed in and out of illumination from the headlights. I gaped, astonished, as we drove by tree trunks as wide as our car. We careened down the thin, winding street, with Redwoods jutting in and out of the path of the car. I experienced wonder and panic at the same time, astounded by the size of the Redwoods and terrified that we might drive into one. As the night wore on, I found myself exhausted by the threat of collision and the excitement of the new discovery.
The following morning, I got the chance to take a closer look at the forest in which we drove. I stared and marveled at the magnificent size, and thought back to the Yucca plants that I had grown so accustomed to. The Yuccas that would reach up to grasp the clothes of passerby’s with their dried, splintered, jagged arms. The contrast of the Yuccas was startling in comparison to the soft green pines of the Redwood trees. I stared at the dangling branches and breathed in the moisture of the forest, all with the knowledge of what might become my home.
As we came into the city of Arcata and approached Humboldt State, I became elated with the prospect of discovering my new home. Already it seemed as if everything could only get better. Camera in hand, I climbed the steps that lead to the admissions office. On either side of me, multicolored flowers blossomed to greet me with their welcoming aromas. As we were lead on the tour, I pranced around campus snapping pictures like a regular tourist. I was enthralled by the nature around me. Every inhalation awakened a new energy inside of me; I could taste the vitality in the air. The campus consisted of several steep hills and stairs, there was no such thing as the freshman 15 at this school. All around me I saw the students riding their bicycles or skateboarding around campus, all with very few cars in sight. There were a very wide variety of students; some with dreadlocks, with pink hair, or with sweats. Together, they created a friendly atmosphere of acceptance and originality. My spirits were lifted ever higher as I took in what I saw on campus and at every moment became more and more convinced that Humboldt was, indeed, my dream college. When we finally departed from the school, I left hopeful and contented with what might lay in my future.
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