I had just graduated from high school; a typical Santa Barbara local, with ambitions of attending SBCC. I always did fairly well in school, but was definitely more concerned with how the waves were breaking, instead how of my grades were.
That all changed on June 15th. I got a call from a family friend asking if I would be interested in a summer job at a shipping warehouse in Carpinteria. My parents had been nagging me day in and day out to get a summer job, so this seemed so perfect. I accepted the job and my friend let me know I should show up at 7:30 Monday morning for my first day of work.
That Monday morning, I woke up late and stumbled out of bed, threw on some clothes and was out the door with no time for breakfast. I will never forget that car ride down to Carpinteria, and the anxious feelings I felt in my stomach. My mind was racing in a million different directions and I really had no idea what I was in for. Pulling up to the warehouse, I remember the cold wind blowing across my face, the distinct smell of ocean heavy in the air, and the flapping of the State Park flags in the distance.
The job description my friend gave me over the phone didn’t really stress how labor intensive it would be, so my first day I was in for quite a surprise. All day I was packing and carrying 60-70 lbs packages and not a minute went by where I didn’t regret taking my new job offer. Much to my surprise, my coworkers were all much older than me, and it was somewhat depressing to see people my parents and grandparents age doing such laborious work. One of my coworkers was an older woman named Maria, who sort of acted like the “mother” around facility. She didn’t speak the best of English, but despite that, we quickly became friends, and shortly thereafter Maria began giving me all sorts of advice and pointers she thought would benefit me in life. Once she found out how old I was, she asked what my plans for school were. I let her know school wasn’t...