Countdown to Graduation: 3 Days
“You haven’t seen the best of me / I’m still working on my masterpiece”
Diving into my second year not knowing what to do with my life and transitioning into something then eventually deciding what I wanted to towards the beginning of my third year was not a straight path. It was quite the opposite. There was a lot of confusion, a lot of questioning, and a whole heck of a lot of questioning. That didn’t stop me from going after what I want and it was rewarding.
Fall 2014: When Housing training started, I was finishing up Summer Session 2 classes and I was diving into an 8am-5pm schedule Monday through Friday with weekends that still needed me to do work. Just because it was a lot of work, it didn’t make want to back down. All I knew was that I was having the time of my life. In a span of 3 weeks, I gained a new family and I appreciated having people who shared my excitement to be a part of Housing. Immediately following training, we jumped right into Move-In weekend and that was probably the most energy I have ever used up in such a short amount of time. Here’s Danny and I singing to every person that comes to the t-shirt station, “What hall are you in?” and acting out every shirt color to be something different. When there was a long line, we’d start singing to the beat of Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, chanting “My anaconda don’t want none unless you live in Middle son!” And every time Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” came on — and it came on A LOT — we’d drop everything and put on a performance outside where everyone else was waiting in longer lines. Welcome Week was full of activities that I once was doing as a Freshman, but now leading with fellow members on the staff team. But of course, life would have it to kill the fun and classes were back in session. So here I am again, still confused about what I’m doing with my life now that I wasn’t a Nursing major and finding where I fit in. This quarter, was the quarter where my life would begin to change academically because I met Dr. Castellanos. (If you read my appreciation post from earlier on, she’s my Faculty Research professor.) I met her during my Fall Quarter of my second year and from then on, she took me under her wing.
Winter 2015: This was the quarter that would be the emotional roller coaster I was not prepared for. I started this quarter only expecting the best following such a successful Fall Quarter. For a solid 5 weeks of this quarter, I spent it planning Valentine’s Week with my Spirit Committee. Together, we created Murder Mystery Dinner night, enjoyed a Sexual Health Education Jeopardy game, and ended the week with the Valentine’s Carnival. Check this… my best program on my own with 300 residents on a $200 budget that got almost everyone to go home with a little something. Spirit Committee and I were quite proud to have such a large event that had space for karaoke, crafting, and games — made from recycled material. Though, because decorations included so much pink, my Spirit Committee were able to convince people in the end that it was actually my birthday that the Valentine’s Carnival was my birthday party that’s why there was so much pink. Meaning, people sang “Happy Birthday” to me. When I thought there was no way things could go downhill from this point, I got turned rejected to be an RA. This destroyed me. I don’t know how much water I lost crying, but I struggled to get myself to stop crying because it felt like my dreams were completely and utterly shattered, and I no longer had faith in my abilities. The worst part of it… we had our biggest Winter Quarter program (Middle Earth’s Talent Show) happening the following day. I could not face the people around without feeling the hurt of getting rejected.
Spring 2015: Luckily, nothing really lasts forever in the sense that the pain would go away because I had a different opportunity… I was going to be a Community Assistant (CA) for Camino del Sol. While it wasn’t my first choice in what I wanted to do in Housing, I was put into a path were I didn’t know I could learn so much from. So here I was, returning from the mess that I was in Winter Quarter, both from my job with Community Council to still being undecided on what I wanted to pursue in my career, I jumped into Spring quarter like I had to. Spring started with the biggest Community Council event of the year: Spring Fling. Our theme… candy land. We wanted to turn the whole place to be a place of sugary sweetness and upbeat energy (even if it meant sugaring the residents). Not too long after, I got to repeat the experience of going to Housing Formal again, and it was spectacular. Before ending the year, the CAs that would be in Camino del Sol had met up in an orientation dinner night where we learned more about one another and this put my excitement to start as a CA into full gear. As we began to close the school year, I had the chance to give a speech about my experience as a Middle Earth resident while I was under your care. At our Middle Earth Student Staff Housing Celebration, I brought home one of the two big awards that night… the Middle Earth Spirit Award. At the end of this year, I declared being an Education major. Now where the heck was I going with this major?
Summer 2015: I didn’t have a summer vacation (yet again) because I took classes again and this time, training was different in that you literally dive right into it a week after school ended. So here I am, dealing with more things that I did not expect to be able to handle. It was also over this summer that I realized what I wanted to do with my Education major… I wanted to be in Residence Life. I know, I know it took me a while to figure that out. The way things came about in realizing that I wanted to be a part of Residence Life was because if I have a supervisor and I work in Residence Life, then there must be a career for it. So now here I am scrambling to develop my resume to be a part of the Residence Life community. All the while, I also gained a new family here with my fellow CAs who have now become some of my closest friends. We enjoyed a summer of pool days and jacuzzi nights other than hanging out in the office.
Fall 2015: Going through Fall Quarter is always tiring because it’s the busiest time of the year, especially Welcome Week. Yet, I was ready with my full energy to meet my Freshman residents. So I may not have gotten to become an RA, but I was experiencing something similar and it would be a place where I learned a lot on how to handle different kinds of duty response situations. I can tell you, it was outrageous. So at this point, I’ve already decided on the Residence Life career and the major in Education was well on its way. As if it wasn’t already dying from all the things I had been doing, I added Sociology as a double major. Now, things were really getting into gear. One of the best parts of this quarter was that Brenda and I had our joint birthday party for our 20th and I got to see my Freshman year hall mates again. Winter Break was the best this year because even though I had to work a week of it and it got cut down to two weeks, I was earning money and my mom and I got to go to Disneyland for Christmas, which was one of our goals.
Winter 2016: In this quarter, I learned that I hated doing transcriptions for interviews in research because they take a million years and when I made one of the biggest decisions I would have to make with my career. But first! We kicked off the quarter bombarding people on Ring Road with flyers to apply to be a CA, and when you ask me to promote something, trust me… I will deliver. That’s what I did. My voice may have been almost gone at the end of the hiring season, but I did it anyway. With all the hiring happening, I also applied to return as a CA, but I took another chance at being an RA for Middle Earth. I was able to interview for both jobs and of course, there was a wait time until I would find out the result. And as if I wasn’t already preoccupied with the hiring process for CA and RA, I applied to ACUHO-I STARS College… and that also had it’s wait time. Winter Quarter just felt like a quarter full of waiting on responses on everything and it felt like the longest wait time I could’ve ever experienced. At the end of the quarter, I was offered to be a Returner CA and to be an RA in Middle Earth. While it took me a long while to decide where I would be, I ended up where my heart just felt was right. Oh, and let’s not forget that I also got into the STARS College program that would take place in the summer. There was a lot in store for me.
Spring 2016: So if it isn’t obvious from the picture above (or the appreciation posts towards Middle Earth and my hall), I chose to go forth and experience my dream and chose to be an RA. But I also didn’t realize that this quarter would be the quarter where all the hard work from being a CA would pay off. But first… this is the quarter where Pass Down happened and I learned which hall I would get. Pass Down has always been kind of a big a deal and I was glad this time around, I was going to get the chance to experience it. I worked hard to narrow down the possibilities of which hall I would get, and I was pretty good idea on which hall I was probably going to get. I started planning it out in my head and mapping out where my decorations would go. Everything was ready to go. On the day of Pass Down, I pulled down the banner and it said “Quenya” and I will tell you I was confused as heck. I mean I heard of Quenya and I knew it was in the back, but that was about it. So when I saw it for the first time, I was already immediately in love with it. Though, it meant I had to revamp my entire idea of where all my hall decorations would go. I also had to come up with new ideas on programming. Regardless, I was thankful that such a beautiful hall was going to be mine. Even cooler… my best friend was going to live in the same hall. So skip to a few weeks later and here we are at the End of the Year Banquet for CA, and I will tell you that I actually yelled, “OMG, shut up!” when they announced my name as Programmer of the Year. I didn’t see it coming and I was proud that it was my Staff Dad and I who brought home the awards that year. There couldn’t have been a better way to end my third year.
Summer 2016: So as I’m preparing to get my fourth year started the summer was filled with all sorts of things I was doing. I finished up my time with being a CA at Camino until I had to leave for Seattle for STARS College. I thought it was exciting to be surrounded by such a great group of people with my CA Family, but I gained more family members at STARS College where I met all these people who shared the same love and passion for Residence Life or another area of Student Affairs. For people I knew less than a week… I felt like I already had gained another family and it was an amazing experience. The rest of the summer was spent with 22 units worth of classes, an adventure at Harry Potter world, and getting ahead on my RA work because I was excited to come back to my first home.