Standing Out

When most people hear the name Jorge Rodriguez, they don't think of a kid born in the American-labeled city of Raleigh, North Carolina. With a father who was constantly on the move due to work, I was dragged along with him. I was born in this college city in 1996, and about 3-4 months later, I moved to the beautiful city of Tampa Bay, Florida. I spent most of my childhood days here, interacting with other kids and making new friends day by day. On my dad's side is a Cuban family, and they stick to many Cuban traditions with ease. Because of this, most of my family lived in South Florida in a city named West Palm Beach, and we would constantly visit there throughout my childhood. Clearly, family life was a big part of my social life. But, everything really changed when I moved out here. Going from 90s with 100% humidity to 65-70s everyday with a slight breeze is a big change for a seven year old to go through, not to mention the drag of saying goodbye to all of your old friends and attempting to make new ones in your 'new life.' Tampa Bay to San Jose is an extremely long way, and this distance used to be felt daily. As a kid, it was harder to adapt to the West Coast lifestyle and family life was truly not a big part of my life if it was in my life at all, because everyone I knew was clear across the country. I learned something, however. I learned how to grow up, become independent, and be who I wanted to be. Without my relatives and old Florida friends to rely on, I had to branch outside of my comfort zone and make new friends, while simultaneously conquering fears and becoming involved in my new community. Obviously, this has worked out and I have grown because of it. Becoming involved with sports has kept me going through it all. By getting engaged in school and club basketball teams, I found a way to have fun, kale new friends, and adapt to a new environment at a place where I knew I really fit in. Extracurricular activities such as these has helped me make the friends I have even today, and from day 1 in California have kept me strong and helped my self confidence through a tough transition period in my life. It is from situations where I struggled most and felt uncomfortable that I was really able to find who I was and make the most out of it, and that is a blessing.

Comment Stream