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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man

On to the next…

By Rebecca Gardner, Campus News Writer

As graduation approaches, I prepare to say goodbye to UC Davis as UC Davis prepares to welcome the next incoming class. 

I had planned to go to college at a UC near the beach, but I wound up seduced by Davis’ charm. When I first visited Davis and walked through the quad in the spring, I finally understood the glowing testimonials (that I didn’t believe) from alumni. 

I transferred to UC Davis pretty enthused to be at the next step, studying at a prestigious four-year university—not really understanding what being at an institution like UC really meant.

When I started attending UC Davis, we would ride our bikes to campus and freely roam without spitting in a tube. I went to giant psychology classes where we sat way too close to each other in cramped lecture halls. 

Then, school became sitting on my couch and watching lectures when I pleased. Or walking around my house compulsively doing chores listening to my professors as if they were podcast hosts.

It wasn’t until the pandemic’s peak when I took my first journalism class at UC Davis.

Journalism was refreshing and exciting. When my professor and mentor Stephen Magagnini encouraged me to apply to write for The Aggie, I only wished that I had done so sooner.

While I’ve only had the pleasure and privilege of being a reporter for two quarters, on Zoom, writing for The Aggie has certainly been a highlight of my quick time passing through UC Davis.

With little training and few credentials, I’ve been able to interview Chancellor Gary May about policing and calls for abolition on campus. I got to listen to students share how they somehow found themselves in a cult-like bible study group that preyed on their need for spiritual support at school. 

Once I exit Zoom, claim my symbolic diploma from a masked and cautiously optimistic Chancellor May and leave UC Davis, there will be new stories to tell. New task forces will be assembled to impress the next student body and re-enrage the worn out staff, but I have no doubt that the push and pull of conversation and passion of protest will continue on.  

My sweetest and hardest goodbye is to the members of Aggies for Recovery. Serving as the president of this organization, it has been my mission to build a community for students in recovery but thanks to a global pandemic and increased rates of substance use, the community, out of necessity, built itself.

I leave each meeting with a full heart and I am constantly in awe of your wisdom and compassion. My hope is that you will continue to welcome and support the next student who walks into UC Davis looking for recovery and friendship like I once did. 

Finally, thank you UC Davis for delivering to me the kindest and most brilliant pair of Alans: Alan Lawrence Buks and Allan Martinez. You are the best friends and roommates for someone who is bad with names. 

Rebecca Gardner joined The California Aggie in winter of 2020 as a campus news reporter. She is graduating with a bachelors in psychology and double minors in professional writing and human development.


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