As an out-of-state student from Maryland, choosing to fly across the country to attend UC Berkeley was a scary, nerve-wrecking experience. Coming to a school with almost 28,000 undergraduate students, knowing nobody, I was anxious to take such a big leap from my home, family, and friends in Maryland. After completing my first semester at Berkeley, I can truly say that UC Berkeley is my home.
In high school, I was really involved in student government, and wanted to continue my passion of representing the student voice at Cal. Thus, I applied for the Residence Hall Assembly (RHA) Representative position in my residence hall’s Hall Association, which is the student government of the residence halls. I was elected RHA Rep and began to attend weekly meetings where Reps from every residence hall across campus come together and have the opportunity to vote on different sponsorship and legislation bills. At one of the meetings last semester, the RHA Executive Team announced a unique opportunity for us to attend a three day leadership conference at the University of Southern California (USC) where students from across the west coast would come together and learn about leadership.
I have never been to Southern California before so I thought this opportunity would be a neat experience to grow my leadership skills as well as explore California. I applied and was accepted to attend the all expenses paid trip to USC! Seven other student leaders and I boarded the one hour flight to Southern California (this flight was super short compared to my six hour flights to go back home)! At USC we presented leadership programs to other students. My presentation combined my love of the hit reality TV show Survivor and leadership. I discussed leadership styles as seen on Survivor and compared them to leadership one can see in the residence halls and every day life. Besides attending presentations, myself and another conference delegate went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)!
Knowing nobody at UC Berkeley and leaving the safety of my hometown where I grew up was something I was nervous about. In the end, it was an amazing decision. I feel like I have found a group at Berkeley where I belong. RHA is something that will bind us together as friends for life. If you are on the fence about decisions, I suggest taking the risk! You never know where you will end up!