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Davis, California

Thursday, July 18, 2024

A maze worth navigating through

To the place where I finally found myself

I was so excited when I first stepped foot onto the UC Davis campus. Coming from Southern California, I was doe-eyed and ready for an adventure. I felt like I was always searching for something, and I followed my gut in attending UC Davis without knowing how much this campus would impact me. 

Initially, I was lost because I could not fathom how my future would pan out, let alone if I would be able to contribute to the campus in any way. I was simply trying to find myself, and in that unknowingness I kept an open mind. The void I felt then was later filled with a newfound sense of purpose and with love and lasting friendships. But it took time. 

My first year — while fun, with new friends — was also difficult. I was studying subjects that I had no interest in (chemistry and calculus), and I felt like I was trying to become someone who I am not — someone who I envisioned since I was very young. Then came a breaking point when I knew I was unhappy and decided to change course. I knew I could not come out of a maze by pushing through the same, wrong pathway each time. That epiphany to take on a different direction led me to apply to The California Aggie. 

I always found solace in words, particularly in writing. Writing allows me to think through my thoughts and express my voice. I wanted to have a tangible purpose, one outside of academics. The Aggie fit the bill, teaching me how to articulate beyond my own voice. Instead, I could tell stories and uplift others’ voices, which was much more meaningful. I became so much more invested in the Davis community, and I was starting to find my purpose: providing a voice for others. And that was exactly the answer to how I was going to solve this maze. Whichever career I ended up pursuing had to involve advocating for others through the use of words. 

I felt like my life was finally complete. I figured out my passions — what more could I want? Yet studying at UC Davis continued to surprise me. While most of my days involved speed-walking from Olson Hall to Wellman Hall and back down to the basement of Freeborn to meet with writers for The Aggie, looking back now, UC Davis holds my dearest memories. 

This campus is where I met the love of my life, on a bench right outside of the renowned Coffee House (the CoHo). This city is where I would meet up with my closest friends for deep talks at The Old Teahouse, with a side of Ohana’s to go. UC Davis will always have a piece of my heart and soul — I will never forget the place where I finally found myself. 

Written by: Stella Tran

Stella Tran was the 2019–20 city news editor. She joined The California Aggie in spring of 2017 as a reporter for city news. She is graduating with bachelor’s degrees in English and in sociology with an emphasis on law and society. 


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