I can't believe it's been almost 8 years since graduating from the University of California, San Diego; and 11 years since my start as a scared freshman.
Let's first travel back eleven years to my start at the school. I missed all of orientation week because I was stuck in Manhattan due to 9/11 (that's a whole other story). Originally from suburban Los Angeles, the youngest of three, I felt like my life was leading up to me finally leaving the nest, a place I had been comfortably living in, not wanting to be pushed out to fly. I had been away to sleepaway summer camp over the years, but knew that it couldn't have possibly prepared me for what lied ahead.
I remember being dropped off, the night before classes started. Luckily, I knew my roomate from high school, although not a super close friend at the time, she definitely helped ease my anxiety. I choked back tears as I hugged my parents goodbye and put on a brave smile for my new dormmates. I didn't want to appear as the "baby" who cried when her parents left, even though I'm sure many of them felt the same away a week ago when they were dropped off.
The first quarter was tough. Not really because of classes though, I've always had good study skills and enjoyed school (although the pressure of my first midterms did weigh on me), but because of my fear of coming out of my shell and growing up. Second quarter, I finally started becoming closer with my roommate and other suitemates and eventually grew to even have some fun.
I started out as a Communications major, but could never get into any communication classes since freshmen didn't have top pick. I changed my major to Theatre and that's really when UCSD became an amazing school for me. The theatre department is sensational, to say the least. The graduate program is one of the top three in the nation and undergraduates had access to many of the same professors and resources. Not to sound corny, but the theatre program and community at the school helped make me who I am today, and helped make me realize that I can pursue my dreams. I had always enjoyed performing, but never really had the opportunity to do theatre in high school. At UCSD, I had every opportunity, and took advantage of it all.
I won't go into grave detail, or we'd be here forever!
Four years went by in a flash. My original roomate who I knew from high school became my best friend (even still today) and my roomate the next three years as well. I performed in various professional-style shows, original student-run shows, and took amazing classes with teachers who have become my mentors. Non-theatre classes were great as well. Of course some better than others, but I can't help but remember the good.
My friends and I loved the on campus eateries, the outdoor vendor fairs, and the beauty of the school. San Diego is an amazing city to boot! So much to do, the beach minutes away, and wonderful weather.
My college experience was so great, that it's sometimes hard for me to go back to San Diego because of those incredible memories. San Diego is now a city of nostalgia for me.
I know we don't have a football team, or Greek rows of housing (which is a plus in my opinion), but UCSD can have my thumbs up any day.