Recalling Sweet Memories

I spent my first night of college unpacking all of my belongings and attempting to find a way to fit them all into the few drawers on my side of the room in Middle Earth. In between hanging my favorite snapshots from high school and deciding where to store my books, I stepped outside to introduce myself to my new hallmates. Just a short while later, I attempted to get back into my room on the third floor, only to realize that I was without a key — I had locked myself out on my very first night. I quietly slinked into the common room to ask my RA for help. Thankfully, she could unlock the door; that was the last time I ever forgot my keys.

Now, three years later, I find myself wondering how I’m going to spend my very last night of college, because when I wake up in the morning, I’ll walk to turn in my keys — this time, I won’t be coming back.

It’s a strange thought when one realizes that the world they have been a part of at such a pivotal time in one’s life, is no longer going to belong to them in just a short amount of time – but that’s just it. We’ve had our time.

Time that I spent picking up Chiddy Bang from the airport before “Aldrich After Dark”. Time that I spent working to plan Homecoming in 2011. Time spent in Salinas, California for Alternative Spring Break. Time spent in the Washington Wizards’ locker room as an intern for The Washington Times. Time spent planning programs as a Resident Advisor. Time spent standing by my sisters at Greek Awards, realizing how special it is to be apart of Delta Gamma. And time spent writing — writing game recaps, writing features, and writing for the newspaper that made me fall in love with sports journalism.

I learn some of the greatest lessons during interviews with athletes, especially the interviews I’ve had here with Irvine’s finest. Men’s soccer player Andrew Fontein taught me that “there is no where else that I would rather be” — to hope that someone has the opportunity to test you so that you can prove just how good you really are at what you do. Baseball player Taylor Sparks taught me that in accepting that there will be times that you don’t get a hit, you are able to fight even harder for the opportunity to try again. Women’s basketball player Kiara Belen taught me that it is not enough to simply want something — you must do everything in your power to make it your reality and to not be afraid of what others are going to think.

Some of my favorite times that I’ve spent at UCI have been in the stands — rushing the court after men’s basketball beat Long Beach in 2011 and again just a few months ago on a storied stage. Jumping up and down until my calves burned in Anteater Stadium as the men’s soccer team clinched its third Big West title in the last four years over UC Santa Barbara. Watching the fireworks as baseball season comes to a close. And of course, violently scribbling notes to ensure recording the moments that changed the game.

What changed the game for me was writing an email to the sports editors the summer before my third year to inquire how to get involved with the New University. That was the greatest door I unlocked in my four years here at UCI — and it will continue to be the key to what I hope to chase.

I believe in following my fear and when I turn in my keys in two weeks I’ll think, “This is exactly where I want to be.”

Thank you, UCI, for allowing me the opportunity to contribute. Zot on ’Eaters, you are a force to be reckoned with.