Special to the Union
At the start of any new beginning, it is hard to get out of your comfort zone and what you are used to. Never be afraid to try something new, as it can help you grow.
Growing up in Inglewood in Southern California, I always had a passion for learning and sports. My mother was a teacher and I had a younger sister who always supported me. Their influence during my upbringing helped me when I decided to move, 10 hours away, to Arcata. This was a completely new area for me. I had no family or friends here. But I packed a rental car with all my things and drove away from the only place I felt comfortable and the only place I knew.
Throughout my 10-hour drive, what kept me inspired and not wanting to turn back around was the fact that I would learn something new. Being in a new area meant meeting new friends, gaining new opportunities, and creating family ties with new people. As a student-athlete in a large city, moving to a small rural area would be a big change.
It actually didn’t take me too long to get used to my new area. When I made it to Arcata, I started to work before I got into college. In fact, I worked for a couple years before I finally got interested in going back to school. The youth inspired me!
I worked as a program leader for an elementary school and I was also the Head Coach for a sixth grade boys basketball team. It was these experiences that made me want to go to school. I got inspired to become an educator, mentor, coach.
At this point, I applied to College of the Redwoods. I had three goals at the time for going to college. My first goal was to graduate with a teaching credential in early childhood education and/or transfer to a university. The second goal was to play a collegiate sport that I grew up loving to play. My last goal was to average a 3.3 grade point average, or above, while achieving the first two goals.
The fall semester started and I attended CR. At this point I stopped to think: “Am I really doing this? Am I really here in Humboldt County?”
Yes, I am here and each day I am learning. Being able to play football and go to school for what I love to do was starting to build my self-esteem.
After the semester and football season was over, I felt very glad I made the choice. I had built many relationships with teachers, coaches, trainers, students, and players. I was feeling really good! Then I checked my grades and realized I had achieved the 3.3 GPA I had set out to achieve.
With the support of my family and new friends I was able to build my self-esteem and enjoy successes. It’s never too late to try something new. If I had never left Inglewood and moved to a new area, I would have never had this unique experience. I have no regrets and even better memories.
Michael Gibson is a student-athlete and a kinesiology major with a minor in early child education at College of the Redwoods. He is one of the students documenting his college experience on social media with Get Ready Humboldt. Find more at GetReadyHumboldt.com.