My College Experience

April 23, 2019 UC Irvine


✓ And there goes college

It still baffles me that I’m done with school (for the most part...but hey, grad school is still a possibility) and done with college. I feel like going to college was one of those milestone moments that I had just anticipated and had worked my whole life towards, so it feels weird that...it’s just over. Like..I did it !
These past four years have truly flown by and BOY was it a whirlwind. I went from despising my college to loving it and finding my place. Now that I’m graduated (sorry I’m going to keep saying this because whATTT?), I wanted to reflect on my four years and how I have changed ✨


First Year [2015-2016]



Hard
My first year was one of the toughest years because I hadn’t accepted the fact that I was going to be attending UCI and was still hung up on how I let NYU go. But more than that, I was struggling with finding my place in a new environment. LIKE HOw do I re-make friends and meet new people when I was so used to being surrounded by people that I've known since elementary school??? I joined a bunch of clubs to get involved, but dude it’s hard and intimidating as a first year, and I didn’t end up finding a club that I wanted to commit to. I strongly considered transferring to a different university because I couldn’t see myself growing where I was.


Best
But, my first year was also one of the BEST because of the friendships I made and the community that I joined. My roommate and I quickly became best friends (ok after like...a week of being super polite and courteous as we were trying to figure each other out), along with another hallmate (hi Mel, hi Daph ♥️). These two helped make my time in college more fun and enjoyable. It was the first time that I experienced such quick and genuine friendships. We just bonded together so well and we always thank whoever put us all in the same dorm/room because liiiiife changer 🙌.
At the same time I was starting to appreciate the small community of UCI and its proximity to my home. I’ve always been close to my family, so I liked being able to go home for any birthday celebrations, holidays, or if I just wanted a home cooked meal :-)

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Second Year [2016-2017]

Going into my second year, I changed my mindset- I was going to actually try and get involved because my involvements in high school were a huge part of why I loved it so much. I knew I had to find that community going forward because if I didn’t, I would be unhappy no matter what school I went to. Also the whole transfer process was so tedious and long and I didn’t want to deal with that lol


Greek Life
At the start of my second year, I went through Formal Recruitment. I had wanted to join greek life my first year but decided to take the time to adjust to college first. I think this was the year that I really was able to find my place at UCI and slowly learn to love it!
I rushed during Fall and ended up going Gamma Phi Beta 🌙 I met my best friend, Jessica, and it was the first time that I formed an almost immediate connection with someone (it was weird & we still talk about how crazy it was)!!! Our friendship was natural and it honestly felt like we had known each other for years :’) It might be cliche, but joining a sorority really did help open the doors for me to meet new people, develop as a leader, and grow as a person!!


Getting Involved
On our flight to Portland, I talked to Jess about how I wanted to get more involved but didn’t know how to or what to get involved with. She told me about her involvements, which inspired ME to do more. I joined Student Alumni Association, Anteater Photography Organization (which I didn’t end up sticking with), and of course was in GPhi. Joining these orgs helped me find more communities on campus that helped make UCI feel more like home 🏠✨

(also I got bangs this year and I'm still conflicted as to how I feel about it LOL)

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Third Year [2017-2018]

If I drew out a timeline of my life, I would put a star ⭐️on this year because of all of the milestones that I reached and hurdles that I leaped over (although sometimes stumbled over, let's be real).
Studying Abroad
In late August, I moved into my studio apartment in the 14th arrondissement in Paris, France. I was all set to live there for the next four months even though the only French I knew was, ‘bonjour, merci, and au revoir”. Many people ask me why I chose Paris, and I’d have to say it had to do with my curiosity with the city- why did everyone love it so much?- and the desire to immerse myself in a completely new and unfamiliar environment. It was one of the best experiences that I have ever had. I made new friends, met incredible people who inspired and motivated me, learned (more) French, ate so much (so. much.) pain au chocolat (and many other pastries), learned how I like to deal with homesickness, and found home in a foreign place. I grew so much in those four months and if I could do it all again, I 100% would.


Adjusting
Ah but there was a rough patch. Coming back to school was difficult. My friends were still there, my family was still there, everything was right where it was supposed to be. But I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. This didn’t apply too much to my friends and family, but more so in my involvements and overall feeling of discontent. This was hard for me but I tried to find my drive through my passions and threw myself into academics and creative projects.

Grades & Work
This year was also my best year in terms of ~grades~ [woot woot]. While I...did not do the best when I was abroad, I came back, took 20 units for the first time and got a 4.0 for my Winter and Spring quarter!! TRULYYY such a huge accomplishment for me because while it wasn’t the main “goal” of mine (I really just wanted to understand the material I was learning), I couldn’t believe it had happened. BUT, it was a lot of stress, hard work, and tears. So. There’s that.
I also interviewed and got a position as a Peer Academic Advisor for the business school during Winter quarter! When I considered counseling as a future career path, I always envisioned myself doing academic counseling, so becoming a PAA was actually on my “College Bucket List” when I first started. It’s amazing how full circle it became when I actually got the job!

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Fourth Year [2018-2019]

Wow wow wow I canNOT believe that this year finally came. I will say that I was stressed out of my mind in the beginning of Fall quarter. A CHP requirement is to do a research thesis and I still hadn’t found my research advisor, so the first two weeks just consisted of me frantically emailing a bunch of professors with my research idea. Luckily it all worked out!

This year was difficult because I was having trouble finding my place and getting my groove back. I felt even more out of touch with the communities that I was involved in than before, and was having such a hard time telling myself to stop and live in the moment vs. omg I cannot wait to graduate and get out of here. But I absolutely loved all of the classes that I took and would wake up every day excited to head to lecture!! Which was truly such a blessing.


I found my footing again, and ended the year on a bittersweet note- excited and hopeful about the future but sad about ending a routine that felt so right (going to work, seeing friends, going to class, etc).
AND STILL. SO confused as to how I am donE WITH SCHOOL!?

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FINAL THOUGHTS

BUT y’all,  I can’t tell you guys how excited I am for the future!! I have so many projects and plans that I can’t wait to execute and just DO. All that being said, it’s still very surreal to me that I’m done with school. When I take a step back and look at how much I’ve grown as a student, I’m truly proud of how far I’ve come and how I’ve developed into the person I am today. I honestly love learning and can’t see myself ever not being a student. I hope you enjoyed reading about my college experience (I obviously condensed it immensely and didn't go through every single event, person, or class that made an impact on me BUT YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE). And with that being said, remember to keep learning, keep dreaming, and stay curious!!








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