21 years. That’s how long it’s been since I was last a student here on this campus. I was a kid. A kid with a drinking problem, at that. I don’t remember a lot from my days here, but I do remember always feeling so small on campus. Like, physically small. The campus always felt like its massive buildings always encroached around me while walking into them.
Realistically, Visalia’s main College of the Sequoias campus has a very small footprint; only about a 10th of a square mile. But, to my 21-year-old memory, it stands as a gargantuan place I spent about a 10th of my life in either as a student or a teaching assistant aspiring to become a teacher. I did always love the architecture here, but I never appreciated it when I was walking through these halls hungover as shit. The sprints across campus from Kaweah to Ponderosa always felt like a marathon in that state. But I always loved setting foot on this campus. I still do. There’s still the buzz of learning something new in the air. It was here that I learned that I didn’t want to be a politician (my dumb idealistic beaner ass wanted to become something politics related) because, if I followed that trajectory, I would end up hanging myself in a swing-state motel room at the age of 26.
Because of professors like Richard Peterson and Gene Maddox, I became acutely aware that I could say “no” to things people wanted me to be and decided to do things I never thought I could do for a living. I mean, seriously, who fucking TAKES PICTURES AND DRAWS FOR A LIVING? That’s a pipe dream.
So, that will always be the imprint this place left on me when I still felt like a little human among Giants. I was a tiny kid in a tiny campus who learned the easy way out of a pigeonhole. So today when walking around the empty campus burning a roll of Portra 800 getting photos of the architecture I always failed to appreciate back when I was a kid, I realize the campus wasn’t big. I just never grew into it. But today it felt just right. Photos will get posted whenever I get them developed.
Once a Giant. Always a Giant. 🌲