The Last Lecture: The Importance of Being There

Last week was the final week of classes for the spring semester. With graduation in just one week, the past couple weeks have been a series of joyful and poignant final moments—classes, tours, meetings, recitals, banquets, and get-togethers.


As part of Senior Week, I attended “The Last Lecture” on Monday, April 20. Martha Olney, an economics professor at UC Berkeley, gave a talk on “The Importance of Being There.” She shared about creating memories, like watching Bandaloop on Cal Day, being there for The Play IMG_0489at the 1982 Cal v. Stanford football game, attending concerts and plays, being in nature, and attending graduation. Her point reminded me of a wonderful quote from The Phantom Tollbooth that has resonated with me this past year: “The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.” Reflecting on my time at Cal, I have very much appreciated the journey and the “in between” moments. I have enjoyed conversations with strangers on Sproul Plaza (I once had a 30-minute conversation with someone about spaghetti), celebrated final finals with midnight hikes to the Big C, and gone on spontaneous adventures to San Francisco with friends. Sometimes impromptu or unscheduled happenings are the most memorable. read more

Making the Final Decision: My Berkeley Story

It was a relatively warm, windless March Thursday, but I didn’t much notice.  My teachers taught me about the American judicial system and statistical T-tests, but there was really one thing on my mind: UC Berkeley admissions, 5 P.M.  After school I trudged home in a heavy, contemptive silence, slogged through an hour of homework, and attended a voice lesson without fully concentrating on my scales or songs.  5 P.M.

I raced home, hands trembling and knees shaking as I opened up my laptop and logged onto my email.  And then there it was.  “Congratulations!” it read.  Disbelief, jubilation, pure happiness. read more