Reflecting Upon my Junior Year at Cal

Along with the passing of May came and went the last month of my junior year at Cal, and the realization that I had only a year before graduation left me nostalgic with so many mixed emotions, and even more self-growth to reflect upon. As someone who spent my first two years of college figuring out who I was and struggling to differentiate that from the ideal college self that I thought I would be, there was a lot that I had to come to accept, the most challenging being that I had to pursue my own career goals to gain my own happiness, even if it diverged from the pre-med student my family wanted me to be. That being said though, this was the first year that I was truly able to explore classes beyond the limited scope of what I thought I had to take, and just barely being able to declare my public health major, that ended involving all the major and minor requirements I’ve been slacking on. But public health is a very broad subject, and my decision to minor in very different topics (Chinese and Education), resulted in me being able to explore fun classes, and take classes that I never thought I would take before. For my public health major, that included classes such as ECON 172 (SubSaharan Africa Case Studies in Economic Development) with Professor Edward Miguel (highly, highly recommended, regardless of your economics background) and a PBHLTH 142 (Introduction to Probability and Statistics in Biology and Public Health) with Professor Mi-Suk Kang Dufour (who by the way traveled all the way from Canada despite the asynchronous platform of the class just to support us before finals), and for my Chinese minor (which I ended up finishing this semester!) that included language courses (100XA and B) with Ms. Liu (which had the best energy with the most fun, loving, and welcoming community anyone could ask for) along with a Buddhism in Contemporary Society course that high school me never would’ve imagined taking. Despite my total number of classes this year totaling at 16, 7 in the fall and 9 in the spring (which, by the way,  is definitely not normal; for reference, a full-time student at Cal only has to take around 3-4 classes depending on what college and major they belong to), because the classes ended up being so interesting and fun, it didn’t feel like 9 classes at all. In fact, I’ve had semesters where I’ve taken four classes and there has been at least one semester that felt worse than this (and that just goes to show how studying something you’re interested in will shape and change your experience at Cal- definitely pursue something you’re interested in!).

In addition to my academic life, my social life also began to blossom. Now that I no longer had to worry about what others thought about me, I began to join extracurriculars that I wanted to, in contrast to extracurriculars that I joined previously to make myself look good. Although I stuck with some of the stuff I’ve done since freshman year (such as running club and helping to facilitate my introduction to human cardiology course), I was able to do things like commit to an orientation mentor position and prepare myself for amazing summer orientation, apply for jobs I was actually interested in (like a summer teaching job I’ve been eyeing for the longest time, and being a campus ambassador 😉 ), and finally just take care of myself in a way that I’ve deprived myself for the first time in a long time, whether that be by taking advantage of campus resources (which I highly, highly recommend, whether it be the destress events or the dogs that they have every day on campus), hanging out with friends, or just enjoying my time by myself, going on longer and more fulfilling runs and getting back into swimming. I totally forgot but I also finished my first triathlon before 21, which, by the way, was absolutely amazing!

I definitely say this way too many times during my tours, but I definitely feel like I’ve blossomed during my time here at Cal. Whether it be due to the inspiration gained from all of my peers who are all achieving their dreams (who by the way have internships and jobs ranging from Tesla to Amazon and Microsoft, even Disney!!!) and becoming the people they want to be, or experiences gained from the classes and memories made here at Cal, I have definitely become such a different person than the person I came into Cal as, and there is no one else I’d rather be.

But yeah, just another year to prove that as long as you’re doing what you love with people that you love, anything is possible (even life beyond nine classes😂). Anyways, go bears and I’ll see you soon! 🙂

Chinese 100XB (Spring 2022)
Freeborn Reunion!
Freeborn Reunion!
My First Triathlon!
Finishing my first Triathlon!

Author: Josephine Lee

Hello there! My name is Josephine (she/her/hers) and I am currently a 3rd year student majoring in Public Health with a double-minor in Chinese and STEM education through the CalTeach Program, a pre-teaching program for undergraduate students. In terms of extracurriculars, I am a part of CalTeach, American Red Cross (ARC) at Cal, and an intro to cardiology course I co-facilitate with a few of my peers! I also volunteer at a nearby rehabilitation center, and was a part of GBO as an orientation leader (and now mentor as well!).