While standing in line to go up on stage and accept my high school diploma, I heard someone shout my name. Who’s yelling at me and why do they sound so close? I turned around and to find my dad a few feet away with the camera in hand. I smiled as he snapped the picture. I had an I made it! I’m going to college moment. My dad couldn’t have had better timing with that picture. No matter how often I scroll back through my Instagram feed and see it, it still remains one of my favorite pictures.
At that moment, I couldn’t believe that I got accepted to go to The University of California, Berkeley.
Never in my life would I have expected to get into this school. I can’t believe, now, that I am about to graduate from the #1 public university in the world (cliché, I know but true).
For the first part of my senior year at Cal, I felt excited and ready to move on, ready to graduate and to live my life. Although I still want those things, I feel unexpected sadness, anxiety and nerves. These feelings have taken over. I am sad to leave all the friends that I have grown to love over the past four years and even the friends that I have just met in my last year. I made some great connections and I hate that I didn’t get more time to get to get to know more people. But sometimes, that’s just how it goes. I am anxious to move on and get my life started, to find a job and to make a name for myself.
I thought that I knew what I wanted to do. In high school, I had a plan, a picture of what my life would like. Although it hasn’t looked like that at all, I wouldn’t change a thing because, without these experiences, I wouldn’t have grown into who I am today. I am nervous because I don’t know what the future holds. Now, I have to prepare myself for the world of interviews, dress clothes and bosses—no more pencils, pens, study breaks and tests.
In the past few weeks, I’ve experienced my last few undergraduate classes, my last club meetings for Blue and Gold Yearbook, Songwriting Club, Athletes in Action and an end of semester work party. I am so grateful for all the professors, bosses, coaches, roommates, family and friends who have believed in me.
Thinking back on my time at Cal, I can’t see myself at any other school, in any other position. Even though I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak, tears and stress, I wouldn’t change anything. I wouldn’t go anywhere else. I’m happy with the choices I’ve made so far. Everyone says that the college years are the best years of your life and I vouch for that.
I’m hoping for another moment like that. Where my dad comes down from the crowd with a camera in hand, calling my name as I turn and flash a smile for a once in a lifetime, candid picture. I never thought I would handle life at Cal, but here I am, getting ready to graduate, showing so many people (and myself) that I can do it. As a senior at Cal finishing in four years, I am proud of myself and what I have accomplished.
To all the friends that I have made and kept, I will cherish our friendships forever. To all the experiences, thank you for teaching me who I am and what I can do. To my parents and my family, thank you for supporting me in every stage and every phase.
To the future, here I am.