I can remember touring Newhouse as a baby-faced high school senior. “Some juniors spend a semester in LA,” the tour guide mentioned. I nudged my dad in excitement and at that moment a seed had been planted. Studying abroad always seemed fun, but LA?! Now that was the epitome of cool in my brain. In LA people have long hair that they can flip around like this http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7147/6501491053_9b53f30089_o.gif, everyone rides a long board, and most spend their Friday nights sitting around fire pits and discussing indie bands that are too deep into the realm of coolness for people like me. I imagined every person in the country had a cooler version of himself or herself living in LA, and I planned on finding mine.
Sure enough, when the time rolled around to sign up for the LA semester, I was first in line. “Yea I’m studying in ELL EHH next semester,” I’d say nonchalantly to girls I met out, thinking maybe my cooler west coast counter part would appear in conversation. (He didn’t for those of you keeping track.) Before I knew it I was in the car headed west, a journey many men had made before me: Lewis and Clark, Teddy Roosevelt, and the almighty Ryan Seacrest. By the time I had reached the land of entertainment moguls and hipsters I was paralyzed with fear and anxiety. I was second guessing my journey, career path, and just about everything in between. It was extremely overwhelming for me to be shot out of my comfort zone like a t-shirt at the Staples Center. “I can never live here,” I told myself. “All of my friends and family are so far away.” “Everyone I’ve ever known is a 5 hour plane ride from here.” “People are different in LA.” Well… in a few days I made lifelong friendships, I fell in love with everything about LA, and we all lived happily every after.
It took me three weeks just to get my heart rate back to normal. After a few class cycles I got into a groove, made some friends, began enjoying my internship, and noticed that everyday the weather is handcrafted by Jesus Christ himself. I noticed that my concerns and fears resembled those I felt as a baby-faced freshman in college, or as a baby-faced freshman in high school. It’s a sure sign that I’m stretching my comfort zone, being exposed to new things, and widening my horizons.
I can’t say after 2 months in LA that I’m packing my bags and moving out here after graduation, but maybe I’ll feel that way in 2 months, or 2 years. Who knows? For now I’m trying to take this experience for what it’s worth; enjoy it; learn as much as I can; and find the coolest damn Bobby O’Brien the universe has to offer.
UPDATE: As of 3/5/2014 “Cool-Los Angeles-Bobby O’Brien” remains missing. If you or anyone you know has any information about this case please contact the baby-faced author of this article.