Editor’s note: TSL is excited to debut the first installment in a new series, “Meet Your Neighbor,” produced by Corina Silverstein SC ’25. Inspired by “Humans of New York,” the series aims to capture and share the stories of various 5C community members. Each post will include both a visual and textual representation of the featured subject to allow members of the Claremont community to meet their neighbors.
“I am from really far Northern California, and when I say that, most of the time people think, ‘Oh, San Francisco!’ but I am from far, far northern California. It’s the kind of thing [where] people from Northern California get offended when they are asked if they are from San Francisco. [The town] is called Arcata; it’s a college town, and it’s a really small town. When there are students there it’s a town of 17,000 people, and when students aren’t there it’s about 7,000 people.
[Arcata] is right on the coast … the beach is not really warm enough to swim but the sunsets are always beautiful [along] with the redwood trees. [Arcata] is a place I hold very close to me and feel so incredibly lucky to have grown up [there] and been connected to nature. Because one of the things I have learned from being here, around different perspectives and people with different life experiences than me, is that it can be really challenging for people who live in the cities to find the peace and solitude that can come from being in nature. I feel very lucky to have experienced that.
In addition to loving the place where I grew up, it did feel like living in a bubble sometimes. It’s a bit of an echo chamber of the same things being repeated over and over again. I don’t want to say performative liberalism; I don’t really know if that’s a term that is used, but that’s [what] it felt like. Breaking out of that bubble feels so nice, and I enjoy finding people who have different political beliefs than I do [because] then I can learn from them, and I can also practice my debate skills [along with] argumentative reasoning skills. Those are things I never really got to develop as I have always been in an echo chamber of similar opinions and similar ideas, but all of it felt very forced and fake. So it’s very interesting to meet new people who have such strong opinions rooted in real life experience and that’s really been lovely.”