For a lot of people, coming to college is a chance to find yourself and solidify the person you want to be. That being said, the moment you start applying to colleges you are supposed to select a topic of interest that potentially determines your entire future. This was always a moment of cognitive dissonance for me as my family and friends would speak of the formative years of university while also asking me what I planned to study for each of those years. Another idea that people, especially academic advisors, loved bringing up was that for medical school I could really major in ANYTHING. The sky’s the limit they’d say — as long as the prerequisites were satisfied — but here I was fresh out of my high school education knowing I liked biology and that’s about it.
Each time you ask a Berkeley student the golden question, why Berkeley? Or maybe just asking what they love most about the university, you’ll end up finding a different answer. To me, that might be one of my favorite things about this campus — the fact that there can be 40,000 students learning in a single environment and each individual can walk away with a unique Berkeley story. When I walked onto campus as a student for the first time I had never been a very politically active person and tended to shy away from politically charged discussions for fear I wasn’t educated enough or simply wishing to avoid conflict. Therefore, what drew me to Berkeley wasn’t necessarily the political history and progressiveness of our campus, but instead the academic environment and the opportunities I might find learning under experts in the fields of science and medicine that I was studying. Of course, I did end up finding myself in general chemistry lecture halls named after Berkeley professors who have paved the way for modern science and being taught by pioneers in the field; however, what solidified my Berkeley story and my own personal growth was something entirely different.