I have had the privilege of visiting four West Coast colleges in the past four months. When I hear “Discover Your Passion,” I think that college is one of the primary places where this happens. As a high school student, I am beginning to see the many opportunities for me to discover and develop my passions, and while visiting these colleges, I have seen these opportunities expand and increase. The colleges themselves influence their students’ passions.
The first college that I have ever visited was the University of California in Berkeley at the end of February 2015. I was fortunate enough to be selected for a school trip and traveled there for a Model United Nations Conference. BMUN 63 was a blast and a weekend well spent. At this conference, I got to witness others discovering and participating in their passion of MUN. I like MUN, but it is not my first and foremost passion. I did, however, rediscover a couple of strong passions of mine on this trip: traveling and trying new foods. I am interested in attending Cal Berkeley because of its writing program (a third passion).
Before heading into Berkeley itself, we stopped in San Francisco for a fun night of walking around. A few friends and I stopped at the Boudin Bakery for some sourdough bread bowls and clam chowder, and then we traversed the busy streets to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory for some dessert and treats.
The next day, we went to take pictures in front of the Golden Gate Bridge after visiting the pretty and peaceful Japanese Tea Garden. We then went to China Town, where we consumed mouth-watering Chinese food and experienced Chinese culture. Later that day, we approached our first session of committee, which many of us were dreading.
I won’t get into too much detail about the conference itself, but I will say that our chairs and committee were awesome. My partner and I debated in the 3rd SOCHUM (Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian) Committee, and we talked about the issues of self-determination and ethics of technology. Cal Berkeley is a beautiful school with various types of buildings and great people. There are a great variety of restaurants around the school, including Melt (famous for their creative incorporation of other foods into grilled cheese or vice versa), Blondie’s Pizza, and Cream (which serves amazing ice cream sandwiches).
The second college I visited was Arizona State University, where my dad started college. We didn’t get to tour this school in detail because it was a stop during our stay in Phoenix, Arizona, for a soccer showcase. Soccer is another passion of mine.
Highlights that stood out to me during our visit at ASU were the Tempe Festival of the Arts and the Chuckbox, a restaurant that serves delicious down and dirty grub.
My third college visit took place at the University of Oregon in Eugene during my spring break. My family and I stayed in Bend and traveled up to Eugene for a day. (Read all about this in my last entry: An Outing in Oregon.)
One standout aspect of the U of O was its sustainability regarding power circulation. The machines in the gym power many areas of the school. I also loved the beautiful flowers and vegetation that decorated the school. The constant presence of bicycles was very comforting.
If I were to attend the University of Oregon, I would want to major and/or minor in their Literature/English, Journalism, or Creative Writing Programs.
My fourth West Coast college visit was to the University of Washington in Seattle. This was probably the most fun college visit because it was with my club soccer teammates. We walked around as a group on a cold gray Saturday evening.
Two of my favorite stops were the soccer fields and the football stadium, where I purchased some comfy T-shirts at the student store that was right next to them.
My other favorite stop was the enormous Suzzallo Library, which reminded me a little bit of Hogwarts in terms of architecture. The structure was grand and ornate and beautiful. The inside made me feel very at home, and I could see myself studying and reading (my fourth and final passion) in there if I were to attend U Dub. This is where I felt the strongest connection to one of my passions.