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Davis, California

Friday, May 17, 2024

Column: Summer loving

Turn up the stereo and listen to the beats amplified a million times over and over again. Keep turning it up and watch the speakers thump and synchronize with the sound of your heart. Cheap wine, warm summer nights, J Dilla beats, splattered paint on walls and pavement – all remnants of a summer that’s come and gone too quickly.

Perhaps some of you had your share of summer romances, traveling to exotic places, taking boat rides with a good-looking stranger and watching the night unfold in the midst of a sultry summer haze. I guess you can say that I had my own version of that romance but in a very much different, less literal, kind of way: with words, paint and brush.

Granted, my version is far less fun and exciting in comparison, I’m sure. While everyone is coming back with a sexy-lusty golden tan, there I am standing with my pale complexion and paint-stained and tattered clothes. But for good reason, I can’t seem to find a reason to complain.

I did my fair share of soul-searching this summer in complete isolation from the rest of the world. (Where is this remote location you ask? Well, Davis of course!) I forced myself to stay in one location so I could focus on the sole act of painting and writing every day. It’s kind of like when French painter Bernard Buffet locked himself inside his studio for two consecutive days and didn’t allow himself to leave the room until he finished his portrait-I did so within the vicinity of Davis.

[Davis is a funky little place]

But, what sparked this sudden urge to (as cliché as this sounds) “find myself”?

After four years of messing around and mindlessly attending lecture trying to B.S. my way through projects, exams and essays, I figured it was time to hone down the reason why I was really in college. But, this gets into pretty heavy issues – maybe too heavy for this column. Maybe you want the absolute and simpler truth, then? Well, here it is: the realization that I was going to be coming in as a fifth-year super-senior this Fall scared the crap out of me. And with a pile of student loans dauntingly staring back at me, I had to get my shit together. Honestly, fear is the greatest motivator when it comes to “getting your shit” together.

I really felt like I was starting from scratch – as if my entire undergraduate career would squeeze into this one summer leading into this one year. There were so many discoveries to be made about myself that I hadn’t known before. But at the very core of it all, I just knew that I had the greatest passion for writing and art.

So I did it.

On a random weekday during the first week of summer, I met up with my advising counselor and filed out paperwork to change my major from landscape architecture to art studio. At the end of my fourth year of college, while all of my friends graduated, I decided to change my major. Since none of my units overlapped from my previous major to art studio, I am basically starting over.

Although I’m still completely terrified, I don’t remember a time where I felt more alive. It’s a great feeling when you finally know what you want to do. I can finally walk the walk – with a sense of purpose.

If you’ve reached this part of the column, I just want to say thank you for taking the time to read this. Let’s take this journey all over again. Let’s talk about music, art and just life in general together in this exact spot, on this exact page, every Thursday. Looking forward to it.

UYEN CAO would like to know your favorite moments and epiphanies during college so far. Let her know by e-mailing arts@theaggie.org.


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