When I came to Cal Day last year as an anxious senior in high school trying to decide on which school to commit to, I was waiting for that one wow factor to solidify my decision. Walking along Sproul and talking to Cal students from all parts of the world really opened my eyes. I knew right then that I could never pass up this opportunity to learn alongside such diverse people and take advantage of the wide range of perspectives.
In my time here at Cal, I have to say that the one thing I love most and eagerly look forward to everyday is meeting new people. I never would have imagined that my best friend would be a student from Southern California studying Integrative Biology but also actively seeking to understand the bridge between society and language, or that my roommate would be an international student from Turkey with more to say about feminism than your average American protestor. Just the other day I was at Golden Bear Cafe and I met someone in the line who had actually met with President Obama and Michelle Obama for a youth conference. We purchased our coffees and ended up talking outside for an hour about the major flaws in the American healthcare system.
Of course we have students coming from every walk of life but more than that, we have professors and faculty who have done ground breaking work and are masters in nearly every field of work. I always take advantage of office hours not only to ask pertinent questions about that day’s lecture but also to learn from the professor on a personal level. Professor Zvezdalina Stankova has been an inspiring light in this respect. I walk into Evans 713 with a doubt on statistical hypothesis testing and leave with a new perspective on appreciating everyday for what it is.
It’s encouraging when I look back and reflect on how much I have grown both personally and academically in just one semester. I’ve started exploring new interests that I never thought I would be interested in such has linguistic determinism and public policy. I consistently come across new people everyday with a new perspective that only supports my quest to becoming a more well-rounded individual. I only hope to share what I have learned and continue the cycle of knowledge among the beautiful minds we have here at UC Berkeley.