In September of 1998, my parents, sister and Spot the dog (yes, we really have a dog named Spot) packed me off to my freshman year of college at UC Berkeley, the school I chose because I figured I’d never have to see anyone I knew from high school.
It figures that when we got in line for dorm check-in, the people arriving before and after me were fellow high school classmates, the very people I was trying to avoid by disappearing into a class of thousands.
There I was, making polite conversation with people I didn’t dislike but also didn’t ever want to see again, when it occurred to me that perhaps it wasn’t all going to be as perfect as I’d imagined.
With 20/20 hindsight, though, I can see that most of it was perfect – the stereotypically awful semester of roommate hell that drove me from the dorms, the discovery that I didn’t want to be a psych major (as I’d planned to be forever), and the older boyfriend whose age hardly thrilled my mother.
It was finally my classmates’ impressive disregard for anything that was not going to be “on the test” and the 465 person lectures that made me realize, well into my fifth semester at Cal, that it was not the place for me. So I quit.
Then I transferred.
And here I am, four Mills semesters later, ready to graduate. It hasn’t all been perfect since I came to Mills, but I’ve had countless experiences that weren’t available at the behemoth that is UCB. And there’s parking.
I’ve had small classes with talented and amazing professors. I got involved in the Weekly and learned that I like to write. I got to work and play in the music studios.
I met Barbara Lee. I got to see Boadecia, which was so funny it was almost worth the price of tuition let alone admission.
My housemate from Berkeley came with me to Boadecia, and I walked her around, giving her a mini tour of Mills. At one point, in front of the music building, she looked at me and said, “You get to go to this school?” We both agreed that was pretty cool.
I gave another little tour a few weeks ago, this one to my boyfriend, who said, “I wish I could go to a place like this.” And I thought, ‘you sure do,’ glad that I was the one who got to go to such a beautiful, unique school.
And now, quite frankly, I’m glad to be done.