I was lucky. I went to college in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I moved away from home and into a dorm room that overlooked a peaceful tree-encircled meadow (well, peaceful when there weren’t drum circles going on). I walked to my classes on winding trails through groves of stoic, ancient redwoods. I eventually lived in charming cottages on charming streets, mere blocks from the Pacific. I woke in the morning to the sounds of seals barking playfully, and fell asleep at night listening to frogs croaking their quiet, calming calls. Santa Cruz can overwhelm with its beauty, and when you’re twenty, it easy to take that for granted. I go back now and I think, my god, I was so lucky.