My hometown is Coral Springs, Florida. It’s about a 3 to 3 ½ hour drive from UCF. It’s 30 minutes from Fort Lauderdale and 1 hour from Miami. Most people have never heard of it when I’m asked where I’m from.
And to be quite honest, I didn’t like being in Coral Springs when I was younger. But now, I’m thankful to be from such a great town.
One of the main reasons why I didn’t like Coral Springs is because I always fantasized about living in a bustling city like New York City or Los Angeles, which had lots of people and things to do. The movies and TV shows I watched convinced me that I was missing out on “something”—but I never truly knew what that “something” was. Not only was I not happy with being in Coral Springs, but I didn’t care for the state of Florida as a whole. I began taking the fact that I lived in one of the prettiest places (that had a nice climate) for granted.
Coral Springs doesn’t have that much to do, I admit. It’s a suburb with a good school district that brings in lots of people wanting to raise families. It’s a safe city. When I was a kid I took that for being boring, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to appreciate it.
When I chose to attend UCF, I was so excited to finally have a change of scenery. I couldn’t wait to be on my own and in an entire new town. Before moving, I started to feel anxious and I didn’t really know why. One day I decided to just drive around, and every building I passed held some sort of memory. I started to appreciate every moment I’ve spent there.
After the horrific Parkland shooting at a school that is in such close proximity to the one I attended, my love for my hometown grew stronger. After another tragedy struck one of my close family friends, I cherished the childhood I was able to experience.
Coral Springs is not considered a small town, but the people that you surround yourself with become your family. I attended elementary, middle, and high school all on the same street. I started kindergarten with friends that I eventually graduated with.
I’ve learned that where you are from is one of the biggest parts of who you are. I hope that if any of you ever felt the same way I did, that you try to find the love and appreciation that I lost, but found again.
Though I don’t plan on living here forever, Coral Springs will always be my home.
I thank you and I love you.