Op-ed: Pros and cons of growing up in a small community

Bianca Cacciola, Reporter

Tehachapi is a small town in California that I am sure most people don’t know actually exists. The population is approximately 12,000 people and growing up in Tehachapi has been an experience that I wouldn’t change. Let’s face it, every small-town shares common characteristics and have their pros and cons.   

Pro: A small-town community is a tight-knit community in times of need. This is one of the beneficial ways that knowing everyone can be a good thing. When a tragedy strikes, such as a death or devastation, the community bonds together to fundraise or help out in any way they can. When I was in high school, we lost a few students due to unforeseen accidents and it really bonded the community as a whole. Whether it was holding a candle light vigil, hosting a memorial in our high school’s gymnasium, or doing something in honor of the person, small-towns feel the hurt too. 

Con: Everybody knows everybody, and no I am not kidding. Growing up, it made transitioning from the three elementary schools to the one middle school easy. You went in with your same friend group and it made the big changes in life less intimidating. 

But, as I grew older, I realized how tricky knowing everyone could be. If you were like me, wanting to get in and out of a store, going to Albertsons was agreeing to bump into practically the whole town. 

Even going back home now, I still run into people I went to school with. 

While I appreciate the people I grew up with, I have also experienced a lot of let-downs and upsets that can deter me from willingly volunteering my time to see others. 

Pro: Small towns make most people humble. The beauty of growing up in a smaller town is that it teaches you to make something out of nothing. 

Most people at a young age can’t think of anything better than leaving their small town, with the exception of some, and making a name for themselves outside of the town. 

A good number of people tend to like the idea of staying in the town as they get older, which is why the last names of people become so “legendary.”  No matter if people stay or go, our small-town communities will always remember where we came from. 

Con: When you grow up in a small town, that means there is a small selection of stores, activities, or anything around you. All larger city things to do, like going to a mall for new clothes, or bowling with friends, means that you have to drive about 45 minutes both ways for it. 

Tehachapi is in the middle of Bakersfield, Ca and Lancaster, Ca distance-wise. On days when your family plans a trip to go shopping, you have a choice of which city to go to. When I was younger, driving to either city got me excited for one reason only, food. In Tehachapi there is not much of a selection of places to eat unless you want to eat at one of the many McDonalds or Subways, so coming home from a day of errands gets a whole lot better when you can stop at Panda Express. 

The fun thing to do with your friends in high school was to have a monthly membership to the one car wash in Tehachapi, and ask your friends to come get your car washed with you. 

So, when I say there is a small selection of things to do, I mean it.