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An Open Letter to my College Town, San Marcos

By Stacey Ramirez
Web Content Contributor

Dear San Marcos,

If there’s anything you taught me during my time here it’s that wherever you are, even if it’s not where you imagined it would be, embrace it!

When I was in high school and planning what I wanted in the next four years of my life to look like in college. I thought I would leave a big city like Dallas for an even bigger city. I planned for those four years to be spent in California, or New York, or another cool city like Austin.

But I ended up here in small-town San Marcos, where the only thing I knew about was the river – and I didn’t even know how to swim. But the river was still a big influence. It was one of the reasons why I chose Texas State since I knew I wouldn’t be by a beach, so the river was the next best thing. 

But you definitely changed me. I wasn’t used to only having one Target, shopping at HEB and having to drive to the next town over for shopping.

The idea of eating at small restaurants seemed like a cute idea for a show like Gilmore Girls or One Tree Hill, or something cute you do when you go on vacations. But in San Marcos, it was a way of life. Soon, the local coffee shops that I would have to explain to people back home became regular places to meet with friends.

San Marcos was exactly what I needed, mostly because I still plan on moving to a city like in New York or LA someday, and having already grown up in a city I needed something new. If I hadn’t moved here, even for a short period, I never would have known what it felt like to live in a small town, and I might never get the chance to live in a small town again.

I remember the first year I moved here, all I wanted to do was live in Austin. I would take every chance I had to go to do things I couldn’t do here.

The first year there were moments I considered transferring to another school. I hated driving back to San Marcos and realizing that I could only do these things on the weekend instead of every day as if I lived there.

Although Austin is an amazing city, it’s also crowded and expensive. I’m glad I didn’t spend most of my time in college waiting at a cross-light and using every dollar I had on parking meters and rent. Visiting Austin was just as much fun.

I think living in San Marcos meant I got the best of everything. I could go to Austin for a concert, 6th St, ACL and SXSW. I spent time in San Antonio, and went to Fiesta and Final Four. I got to visit other towns like Wimberly and Canyon Lake. I really was in the heart of Texas. 

I didn’t imagine spending every weekend or the majority of the afternoons hiking a trail or by a lake and river. I feel like I was always experiencing something new in San Marcos.

And there was still so much I still never got to do. I never kayaked or tubed down the river. So last year, I even took swimming lessons just so I could jump into the river for graduation. It was my way of trying to embrace my surroundings. 

2 girls standing at an edge , lake in center of forest
An evening hike with friends. Photo by Stacey Ramirez.

San Marcos encouraged me to go out and explore. I started going to local shows and concerts and hearing new music and meeting people I never imagined I would be friends with before.

I think what San Marcos also taught me was that fun didn’t always have to be where you went or what you were doing for an Instagram picture. 

It showed me that some of the best memories were made because of who I was with and to appreciate the people who you surround yourself with because those made for the best Snapchat memories.

I think I needed a break from what I already knew to enjoy a different way of life. I used to fall asleep to the sound of the highway by my house, the view of airplanes landing at the airport 15 minutes away and seeing the skyline every time I got on the highway. And the only thing I had to explore was the neighboring suburbs. Here, I was walking and biking and traveling all over central Texas. 

Now that I’m graduating, I’ll miss the feeling of taking exit 206 to get home after a long drive. Having most of my friends live less than 5 minutes away. Walking around the Square late at night. 

arch building and city lights
Views of San Marcos at night. Photo by Stacey Ramirez.

So, this is my goodbye letter, since I never really got to say it in person.

Featured image by Stacey Ramirez.

9 thoughts on “An Open Letter to my College Town, San Marcos

    1. Funny that you can make a derogatory remark about a heart-felt and excellent letter, but are too much of a coward to identify yourself.

  1. Very nice article. Graduated in 1998. Brings back memories. Thank you for sharing your feelings on San Marcos.

  2. That was a heartfelt letter that I can appreciate. I’m glad you took the time to appreciate this beautiful gem of a city. The river is why I live here, as well as the interesting people and trails that surround it. Thank you Stacey.


  3. Thank you. It has been so crazy lately, this has reminded me of what I love here. Best of luck to you wherever you go!

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