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Community Discourse

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years ago

"The Valley"

(no, not the one in California)


One of the biggest communities that I am a part of is the one in which where I was born and raised in...The Rio Grande Valley. Although I have moved away from the Valley, I believe that it had a major affect on my ideals, family values and overall "way" I was raised. I was born in McAllen which is one of the largest (if not the largest) cities in the Valley, and has an approximate population of 125,000. Its southern boundary is located about five miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. McAllen is also one of the fastest growing cities in the country. "The Valley is a popular Winter tourist destination for residents from the Midwest United States and Canada (called Winter Texans). Along with Mexican nationals and thousands of college students who visit South Padre Island throughout March and April, Winter Texans are the bulk of the Valley's tourism. Winter Texans typically arrive in October-November and stay until February-March, causing a seasonal swell for local businesses" (Rio Grande Valley). The majority of people that live in the Valley are of Hispanic descent. My mom was born in Mexico and my dad is of Spanish descent so needless to say I did not feel like an outsider growing up. The reason that I bring up the ethnicity of the Valley is that members of the Hispanic community tend to be more conservative. These families and individuals may be liberal when it comes to politics but tend to have conservative ideals when it comes to family values. Most of the people in the Valley who are born there, are raised there, live there, and end up dying there. Although this may not seem like such a bad thing because most people (Hispanic or not) find it hard to leave home or don't leave home at all.  The only two places I have lived is McAllen and Austin, and I see a major difference in the communities even though Austin is known for being "weird", those from the Valley make me feel like they are "sheltered" and seclude themselves from the rest of the U.S. (sometimes it feels like you are in Mexico) . 


Although all of my friends do not live in the Valley anymore they did not leave right after they graduated from High School. Hispanic families tend to be very close and feel the need to stay by their family or what's comfortable for them, that is also a reason why family get-togethers are so popular. I believe that this "need" to be with family is the reason that many people do not leave the Valley, and also many individuals would not know where to begin taking care of themselves without mommy and/or daddy.  When I was growing up, my mom never made my brother and I do chores.  But I was always a neat and organized kid, so she wouldn't have to tell me to clean my room or do the dishes cause I would usually do it on my own if I was bored. However, I did not know how to iron, cook, or wash my own clothes. I had to learn how to do all these things before I went to college.


The biggest university in the Valley is located in Edinburg which is about 5 minutes north of my house in McAllen and it's called the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA). Having UTPA so close, gives students who want to go to college but don't want to leave home the opportunity to do just that. Although UTPA is a great university, I feel that many people settle for going to school there because either they don't have money to go anywhere else, don't want to leave home, or just fear that they won't get into another school. Although they use the excuses of not being able to get into another school (you never know til you try) and lack of money (there are plenty of scholarships, grants, loans out there) I believe the main reason is that they don't want to leave home. My way of thinking is "if there's a will there's a way".  There is so much out there, and staying in the Valley would have limited my learning not just in school but in other cultures and life in general.  In high school I decided that I wanted to major in Computer Engineering.  I came up with this major by combing my two loves: computers and mathematics.  Although, my career choice has changed it is still dealing with computers and in order for me to have received a well education and career opportunities in the computer science field I HAD to leave the valley.  Moving away from home and moving to Austin to experience college is the best decision that I have ever made.


I have said that living in the Valley has really influenced my way of thinking, it seems that I have strayed away from it and moved on. Because I grew up in a single-parent home, I think that is one reason I left the Valley (the other being my career choice). My mom raised me to be a strong person as well as an independent one and even though it was hard for her and my brother to see me leave, I sort of feel like they were pushing me to go. I may not have grown up with traditional family values but I did grow up independent and willing to take risks, unlike those other individuals in the Valley. Those that grow up in a two-parent home are usually really close with their family and (in my opinion) tend not to leave home, and then some others that grow up in a single-parent home feel like they should stay home for college to help around the house and take care of that parent.


I was the first one of my friends to move away, and when I moved to Austin I did not have any friends. My friends (some of which got accepted to UT but choose to stay in the Valley) attended UTPA and either eventually transfered to UT or graduated from UTPA and then moved to Austin. I feel like I caused a chain reaction between my friends and it feels like they were just waiting for one person to take that leap (that little nudge) so that they could also take a risk.


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