Wow! It feels like just last week that I applied to UC Berkeley. It has been a wild, wild ride, and I am so proud of all I have accomplished in this time. In commemoration of my graduation yesterday, I wanted to take some time to reflect on everything I have learned and how much I have grown.
My love for Shakespeare. When I started at Cal, I was convinced that I hated Shakespeare. I had only read maybe two plays in high school and the experience was not good. "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo," was pretty much the only line of Shakespeare's oeuvre that I knew. When I was told that all Berkeley English majors were required to take a Shakespeare class, I signed up for one the first semester so that I could get it out of the way and spend the rest of my time at Berkeley reading "better" things. Well, I fell in love and ended up taking five Shakespeare courses in four semesters. I thought I hated Shakespeare, but it turns out I love him. I guess it is true that the course of true love never did run smooth!
Strong women can be feminine too. I don't know why so many people seem to think that smart women have to squelch their femininity. I grew up in a time when it was widely accepted that feminine = stupid. Intelligent girls don't wear skirts, brainy girls never wear lipstick, smart girls absolutely do not like pink or glitter or flowers. In order for a woman to be strong woman, she must shirk any semblance of stereotypical femininity and exhibit only stereotypically masculine traits. This is certainly a sentiment in American society. And so, for a long time I too squelched my femininity for fear that people would think I wasn't smart. But since coming to Berkeley I have become more confident in my intelligence (see below). I no longer have to feel insecure when I wear a dress, or fear someone won't take me seriously because I am wearing lipstick. Of course, this still happens, but I have learned that that is more the other person's problem than my own. I have had to face this at Berkeley too, hearing other women make snide remarks about girls who wear makeup to school, and that school is not a fashion show. But now I am wise enough to brush off those comments and stand as a symbol of someone who embraces femininity while also being sharp as a tack. Women should not have to conform to any standard - be it wearing skirts or pants, shaving their legs or not, wearing makeup or going natural. All women, feminine or masculine, girly or tomboyish, and everyone in between should be respected.
Believing in myself. I know I have shared this many times, but I honestly did not apply to Berkeley of my own volition. I thought it was a waste of the $80 application fee to apply to a school I knew I wasn't going to get into. Aashish handed me his credit card, forced me to apply, and the rest is history. But when I got accepted, I still didn't believe in myself enough to want to accept the offer. Why go to a school that I will just fail out of? Again, Super Aashish to the rescue! He all but twisted my arm, promising me that I would do great, but that if I truly hated it I could transfer to UCSD. Now I am graduating with UC Berkeley with honors. I finally have started to believe in myself, to see all that I am capable of achieving.
Anyways, sorry it has been so long since I have posted! Now that I am not constantly trying to keep up with readings, hopefully I will be able to contribute more frequently!
Until next time!