Leaving Los Angeles
Jessie Martinez Jessie Martinez July 8, 2014

Leaving Los Angeles


Sometimes it could be hard to be in East LA, but you want to know what’s even harder? Leaving.jessie p1 final

And I don’t just mean, driving out to Costa Mesa or Vegas, I mean leaving East LA and your family and all of your friends — and enemies for something else.  Something unknown.  But when you face the unknown, turns out its pretty incredible.jessie p2 final

You see, right now, you’re in high school.  And all the people are like the kings and queens of the universe, and you think you’ll live and die by what they think of you.  But then, you take a step out, a little drive to what’s next, like when I came up here to UC Santa Cruz, then you see something you couldn’t have ever dreamed of.jessie p3 final

College so far has been amazing.  The classes. The profs. Oh, and cute boys from every state and dozens of countries.  The cafeteria food can’t hold a chimichanga to Maya’s creations, but she’s been teaching me some tricks with a hotpot and microwave.

Oh, yes. Leaving EastLos did not mean leaving my friends and family. I Skype with Maya and Snapchat with Soli.  Tía Paulina comes up all the time.  I show them where I live, the hot boys, the beautiful places to walk and study.  All the trees. So many trees.

So here I am in college with kids from all over California, the US, and the world! I just met a girl from Liechtenstein — I didn’t even know that was a country (don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it. It’s smaller than Riverside county — but like 7 million times richer).

I love my classes. I basically got to pick whatever I wanted to take.  And rather than feeling like I’m doing just the homework someone else unloaded on me, when I pick up the books for my classes they blow my mind. bell hooks. Cornel West. Julia Alvarez.

That’s where I am now, and it’s scary and it’s different and it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes. But more often, it’s amazing.

When I was back in East Los and thought about my life, I rarely thought  beyond where Cesar Chavez leads — but now I’m here, I’ve found a road that can take me places I couldn’t have even dreamed of.  No, not the 5! College.  Cause it turns out, when you leave EastLos, you don’t really have to leave your home.  Home is just a Skype away.jessie p4 final

Jessie Martinez

Jessie Martinez

An East Los High alumna, now attending college in Northern California!

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