Sun God Festival 2022 has now come and gone. As my first and last Sun God, I truly didn’t know what to expect. Like many people, I had no idea who the performing artists were, but as one of my last chances to experience something outside of walking to and from classes at UC San Diego, I wanted to at least do this. While I can’t say it was the best festival I’ve ever been to, I can say that it has made a lasting impression on me — and that’s not just because I now have a tan on my chest in the shape of a cherry from where my glitter tattoo once was.
“What even is Sun God?” is a question I found myself asking just a few weeks before the festival. If, like me, you came to UCSD as a transfer student at the beginning of COVID or possibly decided to live off-campus rather than in the dorms, you probably often feel out of the loop. It’s hard to know what’s going on or what to get involved in, and I only found out about Sun God from overhearing another conversation. Actually, the answer to my question was probably buried somewhere in the overwhelming pile of emails sitting in my inbox but, let’s face it, there’s just too many to even know where to start. So how does someone who lives off campus get involved?
Well, not easily, and as a transfer student or freshman, you can often feel a sense of imposter syndrome. You can feel as though you don’t belong, especially when you’re already a senior and you walk into the library for the first time and can’t find the elevator. This feeling can make you want to seclude yourself even further into your off-campus life and shut yourself off even more.
I almost didn’t go to Sun God. I didn’t see the point in driving 20 minutes for artists and people I didn’t know. But a few friends convinced me, one of which I had never met in person before. So, as I stood in line waiting to go in, or to get food, or go on a ride, or get a glitter tattoo — seriously, there were way too many lines; they practically took up the entire field — I realized no one knows or cares that I’m a transfer student living off campus. So, I let myself fade into the crowds of other students.
It was exciting to see people I’ve only ever seen in the tiny boxes scattered across the screen in the zoom rooms and everyone’s individual styles. I mean, my jaw was practically dragging on the ground as I admired everyone’s fun and trendy outfits. So even though the setlist didn’t quite match up to past years and I got a major sunburn that still hasn’t fully healed, I still think it was worth it. I had fun going on rides, meeting a friend in person for the first time, and relaxing on the grass while listening to the music. Now, it wasn’t exactly my first choice in music, but I still found myself searching for songs by Peach Tree Rascals and keshi the next day because, for me, music is music (unless we’re talking about country, then that’s a whole different conversation).
So if you’re an incoming freshman, transfer student, commuter, or current student who just feels left out, go to that event, join that club, or just meet up with a friend for some lunch on campus. We’re all students with the same goal. Even if the path you took to get here looks different from others, that doesn’t mean you don’t belong here. We’ve all worked hard to be where we are, and we deserve to have some fun along the way. And if I was going to be here next year, I’d go to Sun God again. I’d just be sure to pack some snacks and some sunscreen.