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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

My favorite college moments

“Your best camera is the one on you”


In the 1,344 days since my first day of school, so many life-altering events have collectively formed my college experience. Since starting, I’ve coughed my way through wildfire smoke, I’ve fought my way through hordes of ruthless turkeys, I’ve hidden from the rain — and a machete man and two wild bears — I’ve sought shelter from an uncaged tornado, I’ve evaded the tabling efforts of clubs at the MU, I’ve cried my way through a Chem 2A midterm and a Chem 2B midterm and ran out of tears for a Chem 2C midterm, I’ve escaped freshmen riding bicycles in the roundabouts, I’ve ruined my 20/20 vision from long hours of Zoom meetings, I’ve been injected with vaccines, I’ve voted for the first time, I’ve driven a double decker bus, I’ve broken a double decker bus (sorry Jeff Flynn), I’ve posted 216 photos of sunsets, sports, landscapes, drone work, musical artists and photography on my Instagram @ben.cheng, I’ve pet Cheeto, I’ve voted for a cow to end Gunrock’s reign as mascot…  I’ve, I’ve, I’ve made so many lifelong memories on this campus, which I will cherish.

As the photo director for The California Aggie, one thing that I’ve learned from my predecessor Justin Han is that your best camera is the one on you. It is what allows you to document your memory and capture what a million words can’t describe, so I want to share some of my favorite and most cherished memories I’ve made throughout my college experience. 

I’ve made so many lifelong memories on this campus, which I will cherish”


  1.  My friends Neil, Job, John, Judah, Jack, Nathan and Alcuin.
  2. My friends Jerome and Ethan hanging out during the pandemic #snip (inside joke). 
  3. I let my dog-loving friend Lea borrow my dog and let them run around in the Arboretum. 
  4. A retreat I went on with Davis Christian Fellowship in 2022.
  5. My favorite photo I took of a sunset in Palos Verdes while attending Zoom university. 
  6. I blame Jonathan for my boba addiction.
  7.  My favorite drone photo I took in Davis.
  8. A photo I took with my drone coming back to Davis from LA after graduating from Zoom university and being promoted to in-person classes.
  9. I got licensed to drive a bus!
  10. Hanging out with my friends Megan, Chris and Jerome for the last time.
  11. My favorite photo I took of the Golden Gate Bridge while on a day trip. 
  12. During a football game, a dense fog descended over the stadium.
  13. Image of the tornado that touched down in Davis, also my first photo featured in The Aggie. 
  14. One of the wildfire days, during which smoke consumed the skies and our lungs.
  15. One of my favorite Davis sunsets from the Hutch parking garage.
  16. A friend and I were distracted while walking and caused all of the bikes at the Bike Barn to fall over like dominoes.
  17. My freshman dorm, Sequoia 205, in Tercero.
  18. I say goodbye to my grandma the day I leave for UC Davis, not knowing that it would be the last time I would get to see her before her passing. 
  19. These are the individuals who grind each week to bring you the news occurring at UC Davis. They write and lead with passion and care about the UC Davis community. They investigate, they advocate, they laugh, they cry, they love what they do with a burning passion.  
  20. A goofy llama.

I thank The Aggie for being my family for the last few years, Justin Han for mentoring me in my photojournalism career, Kaelyn for being a role model, Sierra Jimenez for helping me hold down the fort when it was just us on the new media team, Anjini and Margo for listening to my complaints and Joelle for being patient with my recurring late photo submissions. 

Written by: Benjamin Cheng

Benjamin Cheng is The California Aggie’s current photo director. He joined The Aggie in fall of 2019 as a photographer. In summer 2020, he took on the position of social media manager, and he became the photo director in June 2021. He is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in managerial economics with an emphasis in business economics and minors in statistics, technological management and professional writing. 


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