By Nichole Collins

I remember the day I first transferred to Nevada from Santa Barbara City College and thinking, “What in the world did I just do?” Fast forward to the present day and I can’t fathom the thought of leaving. The Biggest Little City has stolen my heart and is the place I now call home.

Reno has an incredible amount to offer culture, a growing economy, a supportive community, delicious restaurants and fun bars. Reno has countless outdoor adventures and some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see. Oh yeah, and did I mention we get to call Tahoe our backyard?

Although I see many of my peers counting down the days until they can leave and start a new adventure in a different city, I can’t imagine parting with Reno. I hear remarks such as “there’s nothing for me here” or “there’s no opportunity.” Well, I beg to differ.

It seems as though there is this overlying pressure that after you graduate you’re supposed to go engulf yourself in a hustle-bustle lifestyle, start this new chapter and find this amazing job others would die to have. Well, I’m content with the fact that I don’t need to move to a big city to follow my dreams and passions. My career dreams can happen wherever I want them to happen; they just require me to be driven and proactive. You can take any little opportunity and make it into something great.

I want to start seeing more people stay here after they graduate to help fuel the growth of this great city. I want to see people following their passions and making their career dreams happen here. As said before, this community is extremely supportive, and I have found that all you have to do is reach out and people are willing to help you. If you have an idea of what you want to do after you graduate, then don’t wait for something to fall into your lap. Be proactive — get in contact with a professional in your field and ask if you can shadow them for a day. It’s kind of incredible how much pride you can gain for a city when you actively work toward your self-growth and have the support from a great community. I have grown into a person that I truly am proud of during my short time here in Reno, and now I want to give that back to this great little city.

For an adventure junkie like myself, the Reno/Tahoe area is gold. I’m the happiest when I’m outside, and there is plenty to do to here to quench my thirst for adventure — beautiful hikes, paddleboarding on the lake, skiing/snowboarding, mountain biking and whatever else that can get my adrenaline pumping.

One day this summer I rode my dirt bike right out of my garage, went to the top of Peavine, down into Dog Valley, then over into Verdi — and I repeat: I rode right out of my garage. I don’t know of many places in California where you can have that kind of freedom, just saying.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to go explore new places and start new chapters in your life’s journey. In fact, I think it’s great when people follow their passions and do what they can to add to their self-growth. But don’t disregard all that Reno has to offer. Don’t just live on the surface of Reno; dig down deep and explore all of it’s hidden treasures. Get outside and explore — get your blood flowing with the endless outdoor activities. Open yourself up to the amazing community and let it help you reach your ultimate goals. Give back to the city that is helping shape us into the hardworking adults that we all have the capability of being. Be a part of the Biggest Little City and use your passions to leave an impact.  

Do all of these things, and I bet you might just fall in love with Reno as much as I have.

Nichole Collins studies business . She can be reached on twitter at @rock_n_nichole or