A long time ago, and by a long time ago I mean the start of my first year at Boise State in fall 2019, I genuinely believed I was going to be the next YouTube thing. I had found a passion for filmmaking and vlogging in high school and had planned to carry it on into college. Better yet, I figured, I was going to create the definitive Boise State and Boise lifestyle channel which would catapult me to David Dobrik levels of fame and fortune and all the rest.
That clearly never happened.
It wasn’t for lack of trying. During my first autumn at Boise State, I had devised a master plan to showcase all of the beauty and fun all in one video, planning a week full of things to do. And more importantly, to record.
It started early in the week where I planned to bike from my dorm room at Chaffee Hall to one of my favorite coffee shops, District Coffee House. I was excited to showcase to my millions (I mean, 132) of YouTube subscribers the best place in the city to get a pumpkin spice latte.
I took videos the whole way there and of the orange LED lights and fall-decorated interior of the busy coffee shop. I carefully carried my latte out to the front patio where I was going to get the perfect shot of my coffee, Boise high-rises, and hopefully some autumn leaves blowing in the air down the road.
And all was going well until literally about ten seconds after I sat down, I knocked over my coffee and it spilled all over me and the ground. I didn’t even get a single shot of video for the vlog. Demoralized, I began to clean the mess up. Some fellow Boisean coffee shop patrons helped me as well. The woman sitting next to me even offered to run in and grab me another cup.
And right as I was about to thank her for her generosity, all of us on the front patio heard this Boom, Boom, Boom, echo down the street. Out of nowhere, dozens of people started to crowd the busy street.
“What on earth is going on?” I asked myself.
Some police motorcycles blocked the intersection in front of the coffee shop and I quickly realized we were about to watch a parade. But not just any parade, the Homecoming Parade for Boise High School, complete with the marching band, football team, and numerous floats. I quickly realized the people who had jumped onto the sidewalk in front of the coffee shop were families, parents, grandparents, friends, and many former alumni who showed up to cheer on the Brave.
It was one of the first times I’d seen the Boise community in action off of campus. I remember how cool it was to recognize for one of the first times that the passion, spirit, and community I felt so in-tune and connected with at Boise State extended into the city in which we call home. I, of course, took a few videos for my vlog.
Later in the week, I accompanied one of my friends to her sorority social event. It was at one of the many pumpkin patches and spooky, “haunted” experiences scattered throughout the Treasure Valley.
What a great experience to add to the vlog, I remember thinking to myself.
Later in the week, a big group of us, including my friend who invited me, piled into one of our cars and made our way out to one of the pumpkin patches. At sunset we drove through many of the agricultural acres just outside of Boise, a part of our community I hadn’t truly seen or experienced yet.
We arrived in the late afternoon and until dusk we had a fun time picking out pumpkins to place outside of our dorm rooms, taking photos, and even (somehow) making it out of the corn maze. It still brings a smile to my face when those photos pop up in my Snapchat memories…remembering what it was like to go out and do something so nostalgic and reminiscent of home. Even though I was with a whole new set of friends and in an entirely different state and city than the one I had grown up in. Yet it all felt so right. The perfect balance of homey and new at the very same time.
I took some great pumpkin patch videos for the vlog but as the sun rolled over the horizon, it was time for the main event: the haunted corn maze. And this, I figured, would be a great way to spice up the center of my video. Nothing perks up an audience like a few jump scares, right?
And as we stood in line, an autumn chill blowing over the pumpkin patch and corn fields, one of the employees emphatically shouted at all of us, “Absolutely, NO photos or videos during the haunted corn maze!”
“Shoot,” I said to myself, realizing the shots I was planning weren’t going to be a reality.
I was upset as we started our trek but that disappointment quickly turned into fear…in a fun way. My friends and I clung onto each other and ghosts and other characters jumped up and scared us as we made our way through the maze. I came to the conclusion that even if I had wanted to film the haunted corn maze, I would have trembled too hard to record it anyway. I feel like maneuvering through that maze together brought my friends and I closer together than we had before and bonded our relationships for the rest of college. Thanks, scary clowns!
While I was still disappointed I didn’t get any jump scares on camera, I still had the climax of the vlog on the table: a Boise State home football game on the Blue Turf. No Boise autumn video would be complete without showing off our football field and commanding home field presence in Albertsons Stadium.
That Saturday night, as everyone else was anxious and excited, getting ready for the game in Chaffee Hall, I figured I would take a forty-five-minute power nap. My roommate and other friends on my floor planned to stand in the first few rows so I wanted to be on my A-game for vlog filming. They went earlier than me so they could get the seats and I could get my beauty rest and I planned to meet up with them when I woke up.
But if you’ve been to any Boise State home football games, then you know cell service isn’t always a 100% guarantee. So imagine my disappointment when I try to call my friends so I know where to meet up with them and our call gets disconnected five times in a row.
So there I am. Sitting in my Chaffee common room with no way to reach my friends, no one to go to the game with, and on top of it all, no one to get vlog footage with. That was when a group of people from the floor above mine rushed down the stairs. One of them noticed me sitting alone in the common room.
“Hey, man,” one of the guys said. “You going to the game?”
“I’m not sure,” I replied, defeated, fully prepared to spend the game alone watching it on my laptop.
As the rest of his friends walked on he said, “Well, you want to walk over there with us?”
It was at that moment, my mind shifted. This guy who I didn’t even know saw me sitting there and found it within himself to invite me to watch the game with him and his friends. It was pure, genuine kindness. And an offer I couldn’t refuse.
I walked over and watched the game with my new group of friends. We sat up on the upper level of Albertsons Stadium, far from my own group of friends somewhere deep in the lower sections. But the game was loud, raucous, and I still had a great time watching the sun set over the stadium, our Broncos carry out a blowout home victory, and socializing.
I was so interested in talking with these new people, new friends, I completely forgot to record anything on my vlog. And like the corn maze, by the time I got home that night, I figured maybe it was a good thing. That number one, it would have probably been weird or rude to hide behind my camera and not focus on talking with people I’d just met. But number two, I wouldn’t have enjoyed those moments and the game as much as if I felt like I had to perform enjoying it for the vlog.
I love fall in Boise. It is by far my favorite season we have here. I love Boise State football, and good coffee shops, and corn mazes, and running down Harrison Boulevard when the trees are orange, and pumpkin patches, but the very first fall I spent in Boise showed me how much there was to love about people, friendships, and our community. This is truly a special place in the world and I think autumn in the City of Trees is the most extraordinary time to witness this.
I did end up making that vlog. But none of the footage, scenes, or experiences I set out to record ended up making it in the final cut. Instead, when I watch that week back, the video stored on an old flash drive in my desk drawer, I don’t just remember the trees and volume of the football game or how fast my heart was racing during the haunted corn maze.
I also remember how good it felt to be around incredible people in a healthy, clean, and safe city, and I knew that this was my new home.
This fall, enjoy the little moments. If my vlog and lackluster YouTube career proves anything, it’s the small things we end up cherishing and remembering forever.