We all talk about one day leaving our hometown, for most we get bored with the routine of life everyday and for some we plan on starting our lives somewhere else right after high school. Vancouver, WA is about a 10 minute drive from Portland, straight across the river. Teenagers and college students always have this dream that they will leave the ‘Couve and never look back. I’ve lived my life as one of Vancouver’s 164,759 people, but this community really brings your sanity to question. Living so close to Portland, we often have a strong influence on our people, weird clothing trends, earth friendly and liberal. With strange trends left and right, things out of the norm are not a surprise to see around here. Even if this is my home, I didn’t choose it. Does that mean I’m bound to the fibers of my home town? According to data collected by the daily yonder, 81.4% of youth would prefer to live outside of their community while 18.6% would stay close to theirs.

“I have mixed feelings about Vancouver” says Levi Sargent, Class of 2013. “I don’t like the weather too much, I’m not a fan of rain but I love the people here, my friends and family…” Friends and family tend to be a huge anchor for most students. Sometimes it takes more than just leaving your high school, and your job to take the steps to leaving your hometown. Having emotional ties to the people around you is what keeps you going throughout the day. “All my friends are here, and they are a huge reason for me to stay, and the cost of moving would be way too much for me, which is why I want to stay.”

Generally, moving to another state is a huge financial burden, but even moving counties can make a big toll. Planning and dedication to saving every penny is essential, but with the other financial burdens graduating seniors have, it makes it very difficult and challenging to think about spending over a thousand dollars on moving, or even living on their own in unknown territory. Edgar Pavlo, Class of 2013 understands this, “Finishing my studies here is important… After graduation I want to stay in Vancouver and go to a two year college. I want to study to be a dental assistant.”

The town’s atmosphere leaves an imprint on its people, and based on this you will experience either a positive or negative influence on your life. “I just like the way people are here…” Says Edgar. “…they are nicer and they treat you well, which you don’t find in some places.” Vancouver definitively has a friendly community, but every hometown is different in their own way. Finding a negative influence in your community like a high gang rate, crime is on a high, or drugs are being overly dispersed can cause a bad outlook on your town, and understandably make you want to leave, but does that call us to action?
Each hometown has its ups and downs but it’s our responsibility to make a difference. If you’re stuck, can’t leave, or you don’t want to move then involve yourself in making a difference. It could change your town’s teen moving rate, and have a more positive outlook in the future.

Greater education is available in all states, which makes it an opportunity for students to choose their future elsewhere. I have been planning on moving to Florida to continue my education at Full Sail University. I have lived in Vancouver, Washington my entire life, and I know that the Pacific Northwest is in my blood, but looking at the in state schools makes it not the most opportune place for me to continue my field of study. I find it a valid reason to leave, and I am personally taking on the financial burden for moving to the east coast, but for most people, they think that moves that distant are out of their reach. Vancouver is my hometown, and I am part of the 81.4% that wants to leave right after graduation, but we have to understand that the 81.4% isn’t out of harsh feelings toward our hometowns, its more about the opportunity we have as young ambitious graduates looking for more than what our lives have given us so far.
Hometowns make us sick, and they can be dreadful, but regardless, they all make a large impact on our lives, and form us to who we are.

Writing by Jay Ulrich
Video by Jay Budd