When I started at UC San Diego in the Fall of 2017, I immediately wanted to transfer. I was literally sitting in my Marshall College triple, listening to my two roommates-who-shall-not-be-named argue, as I filled out the Common Application on an ugly Thursday evening. Nothing about this situation was ideal, and I wanted to leave. Like many people of precociously art-obsessed personalities similar to myself, I had fallen victim to the desire for a “Lady Bird” lifestyle. I wanted a pretentious, private, liberal arts school on the East Coast through which I could frolic as a young thespian on the rise. Instead, what I got was a gigantic research institution that I was entering with a major in neuroscience & physiology. Not exactly what I had pictured for myself as I watched Saoirse Ronan’s character walk in-frame confidently across the streets of New York to her brand new art ho life.
What was I doing? No idea. I had quickly given up on transferring and my writing journey here had a murky start to say the least. In fact, there was hardly any writing at all. It was certainly a confusing time, as Greta Gerwig failed to prepare me for any of what was to come. Rude. Left amidst all that was science, I was completely lost. So lost that when I started Chem 6B for my major, I became an international business major in the middle of doing the homework. Chemistry was gross, but so was business (sorry business majors), so I changed to a cognitive and behavioral neuroscience major, then added a linguistics major, then a theatre minor, then changed to a theatre major, with a dance minor, then a visual arts minor, then a political science minor. Needless to say, decision-making was not my strong suit. I cycled through subject after subject, but in everything I did, I was always left searching for something to say, and something with which to say it.
Here I was, a struggling science, technology, engineering, and math major, who had only ever enjoyed theatre, literature, and film classes, lying to herself about where she wanted to be, and the voice she wanted to have. Great, fantastic, wonderful, perfect. Really had it all together when I joined the UCSD Guardian at the start of my junior year, amidst these major-minor crises. But it changed everything: the confidence I had in writing, the desire to write it, and so much more. It was the first organization I joined where I felt like I really had a voice through my writing. I met incredible writers, witnessed amazing pieces of media, and finally felt like I had found a little piece of that tight-knit community I had been craving since the very beginning.
Without it, and without a little encouragement from my mom, I never would have added the literature/writing major, and theatre and film studies minors that I will now graduate with. I never would have found my place, or evolved in the variable ways I’ve had the opportunity to. I simply wouldn’t be the writer I am today. And I wouldn’t be writing these words right here for you to see. Everything I have experienced here has been growth and loveliness. The UCSD Guardian is a place of combination, connection, and collaboration. It is a collective, and I love it dearly.
Art by Angela Liang for the UCSD Guardian.