Today I woke up to an email from my mom with an attached video and the simple caption: “3 years ago today.” I opened it to see the two minute long video of me sitting in my living room opening up my Berkeley decision. The first minute and a half is mostly just me telling my dad I didn’t get in while my dad stares at my computer screen and I try to remember my password to the online portal. In the middle there was about 30 seconds where the website crashed. Or maybe it was our WiFi. The video ends with a small scream as I finally see the confetti floating down the screen and I realize I had just been offered admission.
This was the first day in my month-long process of trying to decide which school to attend in the fall. I had been accepted to two schools and I had to make a decision. The admitted students day for the other school was the week afterwards and went well, but I still wanted to see Berkeley again so I convinced my dad to drive me down from Seattle for Cal Day.
A couple years beforehand, I had toured Cal and had said on the tour that it felt like home. That feeling had drifted to the back of my mind through the years of the college search and application process but as I walked through the sea of blue and gold on campus, I was reminded of this feeling and I, once again, told my dad it felt like home.
Everywhere I went on campus I found an vibrant community of passionate people working to change the world. All of them supported each other because they knew that everyone was working towards the same overarching goal, even if everyone was taking different paths to get there.
By the end of the day, I had wandered away from my dad to go talk to someone about greek life at Cal and when we met back up, he handed me a bag from the student store and told me to open it. When I took out the Cal shirt he had bought me, I told him I hadn’t committed to Cal yet. But he assured me he had seen my face all day and knew that Berkeley was the place for me.
I was afraid that everything I felt on the tour would fade with everyday I got used to being on campus. I was afraid that the passionate students would just be trying to get to class and that instead of trying to change the world, they would be trying to get a good grade. But it’s been 3 years, and that hasn’t happened. I still wake up every morning amazed at the people that surround me and the work they do on a daily basis. I knew on Cal Day, 3 years ago, that I belonged at Berkeley and I am so grateful every day that I am now able to proudly call it my home.
I know that this year is different and that Cal Day is cancelled but I encourage you to still look online and to find your own place where you belong. Wherever you are in the college search process, I hope I have convinced you that your place where you belong is out there. And I hope that I have convinced you to look into Cal, it really is a unique and amazing campus full of vibrant and passionate people. As always … Go Bears!