I feel fully confident in stating that I did high school well, as the vast majority of everyone at Cal did. I was able to put off studying until the night before an exam and still make it out with an A. I was heavily involved in extracurriculars and was well liked by my teachers. My high school was fairly rigorous for an underfunded, LA public school; however it was still high school—full of meaningless assignments and tests that only required memorization.
Working as a Campus Ambassador, I interact with current high schoolers on a daily basis. They are wide-eyed and ready to hear any information I have to say about Cal, or university in general. Whenever a visitor asks what’s the hardest part about Cal, that’s when I really reflect on my time here so far. For me, the hardest aspect of adjusting to college was learning how to study. I didn’t truly know how to prepare for an exam a week in advance and use my time efficiently and effectively. My first semester here was a lot of trial and error. I learned that for my STEM courses, I needed to shift away from reading the textbook and focus on applying the concepts. I realized that essays can’t be written well overnight and that I need days in-between each draft in order to be the most productive with my edits. However the hardest lesson to learn of all, was that I was no longer one of the “best.”