My summer plans were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s no surprise, as I don’t know a single person who can’t say the same thing. When the spring semester ended, I decided not to take summer classes and instead to fill my newly-empty days with volunteer work. I had spent too long simply witnessing injustices in our society being heightened by the pandemic and wondering how I fit into UC Berkeley’s campus community of changemakers during this pivotal moment. I spent hours peeling through newsletters of local elected officials and emailing staff members of community organizations only to volunteer a handful of times. Though I knew the work I was doing was important, I felt no connection to it or to any type of community, and I subsequently found myself losing my motivation.
“Share your name, your pronouns, your major, your hometown, and a fun fact about yourself.” It’s an introduction I must have been asked to share fifty times in my first week of college, probably 300 times by the end of my first year. But on the first day of Golden Bear Orientation, the soon-to-be common icebreaker took me by surprise. I listened to the forty-four other members of my group confidently list Molecular Cell Biology, Computer Science, Business, and a few other topics as their intended majors. When it came to be my turn, I was the first and last person to say “I have absolutely no idea what I’m studying.”