Sometimes, your most memorable nights of college are unexpected. Admist the heart of midterm season, I attended the UC Berkeley Trustee Dinner.
Little did I know, this dinner would become one of my favorite and most impactful college evenings. Myself and 10 other campus ambassadors arrived to a beautifully decorated ballroom filled with tables and intricately designed center pieces. Outside on the patio of the recently finished Associated Students of University of California (ASUC) Union, cellist filled the space with their jazzy music, waiters moved gracefully around with their hors-d’oeuvres and people floated around in conversation with the typical blue and pink fall sunset as their backdrop.The first women I talked to graduated in the 70s and had been a tour guide herself. Post college she had gone on to become a lawyer and her career led her to manage law firms in both Taiwan and Shanghai. When discussing why I choose Berkeley over the small liberal arts colleges I was accepted to, she shared with me that Berkeley had given her the tools to literally reach across the world. If it wasn’t for Berkeley providing a place for their students to grow to their potential and learn to communicate and work among the masses, she doesn’t believe she would have known how to look over her firms across the world. While I’m in no control over two firms in different countries and am really just trying to control my midterm grade next week, I would say that in these past 2.5 years at Berkeley, I definitely feel I am learning about functioning in a place like the “real world” where you have to go out and take personal responsibility for your goals. My conversation with her really encouraged me to continue to throw myself at various opportunities that present themselves. Who knows- maybe I’ll one day grow my sports medicine company to support athletes around the world.
It wasn’t just my immediate conversations that made this night so memorable to me, but also the speeches. Each touched on an aspect as to why Berkeley is the school for me. Whether it was the stories of professors going above and beyond in their roles as educators, or the innate desire to give back to the greater Berkeley community, or the ability to explore my passions and have experiences that some children may only ever dream of, this night reminded me as to why I was meant to be a golden bear.
Truthfully, the week before this event had been a very difficult one for me. I had been considering taking a gap semester to take a break from the constant pressurized environment and explore other passions but at this event, I was reminded as to why I chose to be a golden bear and why each day when I walk through Sather gate, I can’t help but get excited with the idea that I could learn something awesome that day. The Trustee dinner reminded me of the bigger picture. Berkeley isn’t just about an individual mechanically going about their demanding routine but about taking a step back and realizing that you are a part of a community much larger than yourself that wants to see you happy. To me, Berkeley means learning to be the best version of yourself and working towards fulfilling your greatest potential. It means taking time to appreciate that you are a part of a family that extends far beyond your next midterm.