The Real World
Monterey County’s students may not have a place all their own, but that leaves the whole community to explore.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Monterey County doesn’t possess a typical college town within its boundaries. There are no rows of fraternity houses with patched-together station wagons resting on bare lawns, blocks of student bars next to campus filled to the brim with eager 21-year-olds, or coffee shops claimed as territory wholly by students.
Overall, student activities are scattered among various campuses and spread around through several towns. Even CSU Monterey Bay, perhaps the most “typical” college here, shares its campus with abandoned and active military facilities.
There also isn’t a typical type of student around here. In looking at students from seven local colleges—CSU Monterey Bay, Defense Language Institute, Hartnell College, Monterey College of Law, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey Peninsula College, Naval Postgraduate School—Weekly reporters found a widely varying sample of ages, life stages, and personalities.
As in “real” college towns, many students aren’t going to stay here for long: either because they are in a military posting that’s soon taking them elsewhere, or because the county’s high cost of living and lack of jobs has them heading to bigger cities.
But even without a recognizable student hub, and the sense of impermanency, the county’s students seem to hit on key activities—from kayaking the Bay to biking he Rec Trail, to knocking back beers to hiking in Big Sur—that make them more a part of the community than separate from it.
And as many students point out, the accessibility of the county means that students are able to quickly discover what’s fun to do around various towns.
Then there’s that coastal magic that mesmerizes students as much as it does tourists and long-time residents, and creates a commonality among them.
Mark Jobst, a Naval Postgraduate School student from Australia, quickly fell in love with the county, and even found romantic love in Monterey’s cool waters. His first week in town, a local suggested that Jobst might enjoy surfing with Monterey born-and-raised Nancy Deyerle. The two hit the waves that week, and 12 months later married. (See cover photo.)
“I still have to pinch myself sometimes,” Jobst says. “And I’ve got another eight months [in Monterey]. Fantastic!”