Archive for October 2012
And Suddenly a Light Appears Inside My Brain. And I Think of My Ways, I Think of My Days, And Know That I Have Changed*
Looking back, every one if the past few years since I’ve started college has really been defined by a phase. Sometimes the phases span more than one year, but every section was still really definitive.
Freshman year was a time of really realizing the friendships I wanted to make and keep. The majority of the people I knew then no longer exist in my life, but a lot of the current close friendships came from that time. Funny how that works out. It was just not the crowd I wanted to be associated with; a lot of it reminded me of what I thought I was comfortable with in high school. And then BAM! I realized this was college in a brand new state. There was no one from my high school and I could really choose and figure out the friendships I really wanted to make. A lot of what you do in freshman year really does end up defining what your college experience is. I mainly found my roommates. :)
Second semester of freshman year was my first exposure to Illini Pride (student cheering sections for all varsity sports teams) in the form of Orange Krush (men’s basketball cheering section). And wow. I would never take back any of the countless hours I have devoted to being on the Illini Pride Executive Board and the countless hours spent at sporting events. When I earned my spot on the board starting sophomore year, it completely changed the lifestyle and friendships I had (aside from my roommates, who became a constant throughout the four years).
All my friends from freshman year were Asian. Meaning that I really only interacted with, at maximum, 16% of the Illinois community! 16%! It’s amazing to think about how much joining Illini Pride really opened my eyes to the world outside of what I had always known. My high school was by no means “Asian,” but we were still 40% Asian. For a lot of my Illinois friends, they had either no Asians or only a couple in their entire schools. This is untrue of some of the suburbs (Niles, Naperville, Oakbrook, etc.), but they still had much lower percentages than my area in Northern California.
Junior year/2008 was my favorite year. I knew the most people on campus during this time, my good friends were super seniors, and it was our Rose Bowl year! Penn St, Wisconsin, at #1 Ohio St for the Block I (football cheering section) annual road trip.
Senior year was difficult at times. I started traveling a lot more from accruing so many miles throughout my years at Illinois and having my car at school. So I was always either in Chicago, Berkeley, SD, or LA, which made it hard to enjoy college since I was so impatient about transitioning into post-college life. I do regret not having cherished that time as I should have, but at least I did made a resolve to spend more time on campus during the second half of spring semester.
After college was a little crazy. I wasn’t ready to move back to California yet, I wanted to experience living in Chicago, but I also didn’t want to find myself “stuck” in Illinois. I LOVE Illinois, but I’ve always known it’s not where I would eventually want to settle down. And so I started off with the Naperville downtown Apple Store opening. I thought after that for a little bit, I would move home and put my finance degree to good use. Somehow I ended up as a manager for Gilly Hicks (Abercrombie & Fitch Co.) and lived in Chicago for almost two years. That also almost took me to a two year stint in Hong Kong for Abercrombie, which didn’t work out, but, I did find my best friend there!
I ended up moving home and landing my current job. The hardest part about moving home is trying to pick up your high school friendships from where they were and finding that I was in completely different places in life than them. It took a while to really find friends that I completely trust, but these girls have really become my support system and this is the first time in my life that the majority of my close friends are female.
Quarter century birthday. It’s weird to think about how it only seemed like yesterday we were all turning 21, at the same time, I really can’t imagine being in college anymore. I’m really excited for this year and the maybe changes that I’m working toward, and there’ll definitely be more adventures in design and printing!
*Grouplove – “Colours”