Ah, the wonders of growing up.
Tomorrow I turn 19––my last year as a teenager. There's something about birthdays that leaves a warm sense of nostalgia in my mind, and I'm especially feeling it now that I'm so far away from everyone I love. It's odd not baking a cake with my mom, having a family dinner with my favorite foods, and hearing my dad tell the story of my birth yet again; while I'm excited to start this new year with my friends here, I certainly miss my family.
I've always been a bit extra with my birthday, and I plan to be just as obnoxious this year as any other. For my eighteenth, I wore a tiara to all of my classes––just ask my teachers––and had a fairly large party in celebration. While I can't exactly saunter around with a tiara, I've managed to find the most obnoxious and exciting way to party: my friends and I have rented an airbnb 45 minutes away for a night. Not only will there be an exciting mini-road trip through the California coast, but we get to sleep in rooms bigger than a dorm. We're going to have a blast.
In other news, I have officially joined the Daily California Newspaper as the newest copy editor! I cannot wait to get my hands on some articles to edit; it's been too long since the late nights with Eleanor, Mr. Smith, and Dr. Slayton tirelessly editing the watch magazine at Porter-Gaud. Eleanor's obsession with editing has certainly rubbed off on me.
Along with the Daily Cal, I am a member of BOAA, the Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy, Girl Up, a UN-based organization promoting feminism and female empowerment, and a swing dancing club. While I wish I could join a ton of other clubs, unfortunately time is too fleeting. My classes are all reading-intensive, so I've been spending a lot of time either at my desk, in the library, or sleeping. This semester I'm taking Shakespeare, Roots of Western Civilization, a freshman seminar on animals in Ancient Egypt, and Intro to Socio-Cultural Anthropology, and I am absolutely loving them. My professors are all interesting and truly invested in their topics, and my graduate student instructors genuinely care about their students and are extremely approachable.
We've already read A Midsummer Night's Dream and are currently in the midst of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare, two very similar yet oh so different plays that I love, and we plan on reading four other plays––A Merchant's in Venice, Macbeth, Henry IV Part One, and A Winter's Tale––before the end of the semester. In Roots of Western Civilization, we've finished The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey and are currently reading the Old Testament and parts of Hesiod's Theogony and Works and Days. As a classics course, there's a ton of interesting material for Roots of Western Civ, and I know I'm going to love all of the books we read. I've got a bit of an upper hand due to my extensive Latin knowledge (thanks Magister Lipka!) and fascination with the ancient world. And my seminar pairs nicely with it, adding Ancient Egyptian facts to the other Mediterranean history I'm learning. While not as extensive in material, we've gotten to write in hieroglyphs and look at many examples of animals carved into stone. My anthropology class isn't quite as exciting as the others, but I'm definitely learning more about my intended major and becoming increasingly intrigued by the subject.
Berkeley holds so much beauty; the scenery, the people, and the atmosphere creates this wonderful place to learn. I've truly never felt so normal, but I also feel important and validated. There are organizations for animal rights, protests every other day, and genuine concern for the world we live in––it's a welcome distraction from the trials of the world. Seeing how this community reacts to the problems we face as a human race gives me hope for the future of our generations; if everyone cared like these people do, there truly is the potential for things to change. There's a huge walkout today for the Global Climate Strike, and I cannot wait to see the vast amount of people participating. The Berkeley community is not afraid of upsetting others; it recognizes the necessity for discomfort and debate, for conversations and change.
Everything's going smoothly, and I'm thrilled to see where the world takes me. Another year, another opportunity for adventure; I'm just here for the ride.