Saying “Hi” Helps the Move

One of the toughest things to do during life is probably starting a new chapter. You hear so much that college has been the best years of your life. Then, it is time to graduate and become an adult. You went from a well-known person on campus to the new guy in the office down the hall. That’s definitely what I went through. Not only a new start, but I feel like I began a new life. Why’s that? Well, it’s due to a change that many people go through—a regional change.

I grew up in Los Angeles, CA and went the University of California in Merced. I graduated with Honors and always had a dream of getting out of the Golden state. It’s okay; you can ask the question…why did I leave the state that many people want to move to? That’s easy. I wanted something new.

When I graduated, I felt like I was in a complex. I was a well-known person on campus and it was clear to me that this “popularity” was going away. My home of twenty-two years was going to be sealed and signed off as my past chapters. Now, I’m in Schaumburg, IL working as a Residence Life Coordinator at the Illinois Institute of Art in Schaumburg.

Changing locations was and, at times, is tough. My family, my friends, and my fraternity brothers were all home. They were all together. That was the hard part to adjust to—seeing all the pictures and Facebook updates of everyone having a great time together while I was here sitting in my apartment alone. I went awhile staying like this. At work, I was the young guy. In my department, everyone was older, except for my supervisor, but that rapport can only go so far. Constantly, I would regret the decision to move out here.

It was not until one day when I was walking around Chicago and saw many people with friends and family that I realized—wait, this isn’t me. Who I was here was not who I was in CA. I went from that well-known person to literally a nobody—someone who went to work and came home—and the occasional visit to the bar. (I’ll be real with you.)

That’s when I knew that the only way to become happy and cherish my decision was to stop thinking about what I did not have with me. True, my family and friends in CA are not with me out here. That does not mean they don’t exist. With our technology today, there’s no reason to not see anyone. Skype, Facetime, Facebook—it’s impossible to lose touch with one.

Then, I noticed. There are so many people around me out here. You see, I was not alone and dreary out here because I was literally by myself. I only felt alone because I chose to be this way and miss the past.

Changing locations is tough, especially when you do not know anyone. However, when you really look through your glasses or just right in front of you, you see that it is much easier when you walk to a new person in the office or in a coffee shop or even your neighbor and just say, “Hi.” That simple word will start your new friendships. It will start a community. It will start your new life.

No, it’s true. You’re not the big man on campus anymore and you’re probably at the bottom of your office, especially when you’re straight out of college with no experience. I still don’t know why I graduated with the goal of leaving California. However, I’m happy I did it. Now, I’ve got some great friends out here and I just know—I’m not alone. My friends have been around me all along. I just didn’t open my eyes wide enough.

When and if you ever move, all you have to do to meet people is say, “Hi.” Try that. It’ll work.

Raymond Gonzales

Raymond is a new blog writer. To find out more information about Raymond visit

Student Affairs - the First Years

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