A string of happy coincidences

Consider what will really matter years from now and make your choices off of that. Say yes, call your mom and don’t sweat the small stuff

I was never supposed to be here. This statement could easily be applied to a number of circumstances I’ve experienced over the last four years — the first one that comes to mind, however, is that I wasn’t supposed to be a student at this distinguished and so, so beloved university in the first place. I was placed on the waitlist as a senior in high school, leaving me completely heartbroken, and I committed elsewhere. You know how badly you want something when you get a taste of what it feels like to not have it at all. Feeling so dismal over my impending rejection made me want to try anything and everything in an effort to convince the admissions team of my worthiness. I wrote letters and called the admissions office several times a week, hoping that my constant nagging would sway them positively in my direction. Six weeks later, I was offered a spot. In telling this story, I don’t think I’m trying to convey a deeper message or offer advice per se. But I do think it’s important to fight for the things you really want in life and recognize what those things are. UC Davis was and still is that “thing” for me and it has vastly exceeded my greatest expectations.

Similar to being a UC Davis student, I was never supposed to be in the world of journalism. While most of the graduating staff has been with the paper for four-plus years, I have only been on staff for two. I originally wanted to pursue a professional writing minor and knew I could obtain internship credit by writing for The California Aggie. Despite having no real knowledge of journalistic practices or AP style, the then-managing editor saw something in me and brought me on board as a campus news writer. Ironically, a few short weeks after I was hired, I lost interest in the minor and turned my focus toward making a name for myself at the paper instead. The quirky energy in Lower Freeborn and amusing dialogue between staff members fascinated me — and I wanted in. Two years later, I can confidently say that my only regret was not joining sooner. In so many ways, The Aggie has taught me more than any class ever could. I never thought I’d be able to boast my knowledge of student government or recall a dry joke made by the chancellor. In a few short days, I will walk away from college a better, more educated person than I would’ve been without this cherished publication.

There are a few pieces of advice and a few realizations I’ve come across during my four-year stint at Davis that I’ll share here. First, and perhaps most importantly, you aren’t a loser if you don’t ride a bike to class. It’s cool to be involved in extracurriculars and put actual effort into things. Buying books off campus will often be cheaper than buying on campus (and sometimes you don’t even need the book at all). Say yes to doing things with your friends as often as possible — you might want to “be lame” and sit in bed, but you’ll be sad about it five years down the road. Nobody cares what you look like in the gym, and they aren’t judging you for your form or pace. Just because there’s pizza 24/7 in the DC doesn’t mean you need a slice every time you go. The best way to study is usually doing practice exams over and over again. And FaceTime your parents or loved ones as often as you can.

Written by: Claire Dodd

Claire Dodd was the 2019–20 features editor. She joined The California Aggie in fall of 2018 as a campus news reporter and served as an associate campus news editor in spring of 2019. She is graduating with two bachelor’s degrees in economics and sociology. 

This column is a part of our 2020 Senior Issue. The rest of the issue can be foundhere.