Wait, it’s been a year?
Today is June 3rd, 2022. We’ve made it to the end of Week 10 of the Spring Quarter here at UCI. In fact, we’ve almost made it to the end of the year.
This time around, it’s full speed ahead, contrasting my dabbles with college classes in between high school. Midterms are scary, and relying on a curve has been a fun game of roulette. I’ve fully lived three eons thanks to the quarter system. And thankfully, I’ve been adapting and surviving through a support system stronger than ever.
Living on campus, living with four other people. Intimidating at first, but luckily, I was blessed with three other roommates who tolerate and have fun with me. And RAs who not only took the time to host fun events for us, but who also helped me navigate the first few confusing weeks of college. Their wisdom was what I needed in times of my own questioning. On top of that, the people of our floor are some of the most interesting and nicest people you’ll meet. Within STEM, all the way to business and political science. From powerlifting, dance, and tennis. Sometimes they got on my nerves. Lingering laundry, and unaddressed mess in our common areas. Some people adult differently than others, but working through these differences is simply life. Lights out, late-night conversations. Through thick and thin, and my seven am alarms, whew.
As annoying as it was waking up on a Saturday to my father vacuuming, I’ve turned into the one vacuuming on the weekends. In general, college has made me take more care of my self, and has provided me more resources to do so. One of my favorite spots to clear my head at night is Aldrich Park or a spot in our School of Humanities, if I’m not coping with boba from Sharetea ( :p ).
On top of myself, I’ve done my due diligence to keep up with those outside of Irvine. Hanging out with friends on the weekends I’m back home, spontaneous FaceTimes, and all the Snaps. Randomly showing up to surprise a recently graduated friend at Target is always the highlight of my weekend. My friends from home who’ve kept up with me have my heart, and they always make me excited when they let me know what they’ve been up to.
A friend who goes to UCLA once told me, “you can take the kid out of ASB, but you can’t take the ASB out of the kid”. Something that followed me into college was the deactivated urge to be involved. Even after a long summer break, I hesitated to be involved, and in leadership positions so much. This is a feeling I simply cannot describe in words, and as many have heard, only in broken sentences with me running around in circles.
To me, being involved was still important, even if I did it intermittently. Participating in clubs is quite different than being on a club’s board, per say, and if my schedule permitted (and my feelings were settled), I would’ve taken more time to explore my campus’ many organizations. Over the summer, I trained to be a staff member of KUCI. And although I’ve been inactive, I hope that next year, I can take more time to visit the studio to help out. Another club I came to enjoy from a distance was Kaba. A cultural organization that has provides a space to learn more about Pilipinx culture. I’ve appreciated the space to share my own experiences, and the more the learn, the more proud I am to be who I am as a Pilipinx-American. PACN43 got me riled up about our traditional dances, and learning about growing up in the Philippines unlocked memories I had, and memories I’ve heard of when I visited the homeland. Writing the idea into existence, but maybe I’ll try to be apart of PACN next year!
Finding my place here on campus was initially tough. Even if almost all of them were out in full display during the involvement fair, again, I hesitated. However, putting yourself out there is always the first step. Be bold. Reminds me of how tense I was randomly showing up to Tennis Club, but at the end, was quite a chill night.
To no one’s surprised, my UCLA friend’s forewarning was strong. I did end up finding myself back in a blue polo. Not ASUCI, I don’t see myself ever going near that organization (yet?!), but the Campus Representatives program! Even before the fall quarter, I was already walking backwards, jokingly telling my sister to give me four years. I only needed less than one (hah). On top of my heavy involvement-hesitation, I quickly questioned my own place on the UCI campus. But being a tour guide easily felt like a bridge between my own past and what lies ahead. And becoming a tour guide is what I saw as another foot in the door when it came to understanding what it meant for me to be an Anteater.
In the middle of a weird Winter Quarter, training made up for a lot of the chaos. What training taught me, other than how many trees we have in Aldrich Park (11,120), was definitely the importance of having a balance between work-life. Something I lacked in high school. Basically, I need a personality outside of school, and I’m still working on that.
In all seriousness, the appreciation and bond I have with my other campus representatives is special to me. They make this job not feel like a job, and more like an experience where we all work together to move forward. I don’t know what fueled my pride for high school back in the day, but here, it’s them. Their own experiences and drive to be apart of a wonderful program is what makes me confident about being a student at UCI.
Academically, my goodness. The quarter system is rough, trying to be a Software Engineer is tough. Next week is finals week, and I’m holding onto dear life. But if it wasn’t a challenge, I don’t think I would’ve been down to try. Going through the process of building software in my Introduction to Software Engineering class was fun, and I make fun of myself every-time when I giggle over it. It’s a culmination of my love for technology, on top of what I loved doing in high school. Classes like my programming classes make me forget about calculus. Even though I struggle a lot with it, at least I see why it’s apart of CS. People come and go heavily, an idea I’ve comfortably accepted in middle school. However, the small friends I’ve made along the way in my classes have made them the best. With the emphasis of pair programming in my programming classes, I’ve kept up with a few great friends and lab partners over these past quarters. And the best part is that I’ll more than likely see them again, until the split between SWE and CS occurs for my uppers-division classes.
Side note, we’re gonna redo the blog this summer. There’s no more excuses as someone in the field of CS for this long, I have to become familiar with HTML, CSS, and what not to find a theme and absolutely make it my own.
As for me taking antro and writing this year, those classes outside of CS were creatively stimulating (as my EEE+ evaluation would probably ask). There’s much to learn about our world and ourselves, and the classes offered at UCI indeed for the curious who love asking all the questions. Both classes, respectively on Environmental Injustice and writing about Mass Incarceration have made me not cynic, but more critical on how I view the world and power.
Taking a look back on this year, and comparing my experience to my first year of high school, I’ve definitely changed. There’s more substance to how I write, and better observations within my introspection. The personal bonds that I’ve created start with my personality and character, and continue with deeper stories; not the other way around. And much of the bulk within adulting: keeping track of my finances, daily-housekeeping, etc. There is still much for me to let go of, but there hasn’t been anything holding me back. I’m excited to see where I’ll be taken for my second year of college, for my second batch of tours, and for me to go through all of this, all over again. Optimistic, of course. But I’m especially determined in learning more, and figuring out things out about myself and the world. Oh, and I’m definitely enjoying my summer!
Welp, glad to get all of this off my chest as the calm before the storm ends. Off to study for finals.