Whenever I do the laundry at home, part of me cringes slightly every time I see my blue and gold Cal apparel go into the same space as my sister’s red Stanford gear. I guess that’s what happens when your house is divided and your sister goes to your colleges rival. And while I joke around with her all of the time about who goes to the better school (me, duh!), I feel pretty lucky to not only be rivals with another great institution but for all of the fun that both Elle, my sister and I have gained by being able to actively participate in each other’s college experience.
With most upcoming life changes, people picture how their life will be different and what their new daily life will look like. Senior year of high school, my thoughts and ideas regarding my new life and transition to Berkeley were no different.
As a fitness enthusiast, one of the first questions high school senior Sara asked Berkeley students was “where can I sweat?” While the Recreational Sports Facility is a great resource if you are into group fitness classes, looking to max a new record in the weight-room or to have an option in the event that it is raining, I often prefer sweating outdoors in nature.
In high school, I always wished I could attend a team “pasta feed” or wear those “we love our seniors” shirts for my sports team. I was jealous that my classmates could represent their school in their athletic passions and at times, I was discouraged that I fell in love with figure skating and not a sport such as soccer or lacrosse because I felt like I was missing out.
Two years ago, I went to my first competition with the Cal Figure Skating team. Normally at a competition, when you are called to the ice, the announcers calls your name followed by your home skating club but at this competition my name was followed by “representing the University of California, Berkeley”. Hearing those words for the first time is a moment that l’ll never forget because like every freshman during their first semester at college, one wants to feel that they made the correct college decision. In that moment, despite what others had thought about my decision, all of my doubts had gone away.
As soon as I heard one could study abroad as a college student, I knew I wanted to study abroad. In fact, a strong study abroad program was one of my criteria in deciding where to apply to college. At UC Berkeley I would learn one could not only study abroad but also intern, work or even do research with a professor over seas. However, by the time the deadline came to sign up to study abroad during junior spring as planned, I decided not to apply. This was partly because I had worked abroad the summer after my freshman year and didn’t feel the need to, and partly because depending on your outlook and involvement, I’ve found that you can study “abroad” in Berkeley.
Sometimes, your most memorable nights of college are unexpected. Admist the heart of midterm season, I attended the UC Berkeley Trustee Dinner.
Little did I know, this dinner would become one of my favorite and most impactful college evenings. Myself and 10 other campus ambassadors arrived to a beautifully decorated ballroom filled with tables and intricately designed center pieces. Outside on the patio of the recently finished Associated Students of University of California (ASUC) Union, cellist filled the space with their jazzy music, waiters moved gracefully around with their hors-d’oeuvres and people floated around in conversation with the typical blue and pink fall sunset as their backdrop.The first women I talked to graduated in the 70s and had been a tour guide herself. Post college she had gone on to become a lawyer and her career led her to manage law firms in both Taiwan and Shanghai. When discussing why I choose Berkeley over the small liberal arts colleges I was accepted to, she shared with me that Berkeley had given her the tools to literally reach across the world. If it wasn’t for Berkeley providing a place for their students to grow to their potential and learn to communicate and work among the masses, she doesn’t believe she would have known how to look over her firms across the world. While I’m in no control over two firms in different countries and am really just trying to control my midterm grade next week, I would say that in these past 2.5 years at Berkeley, I definitely feel I am learning about functioning in a place like the “real world” where you have to go out and take personal responsibility for your goals. My conversation with her really encouraged me to continue to throw myself at various opportunities that present themselves. Who knows- maybe I’ll one day grow my sports medicine company to support athletes around the world.