This past month I attended my second Cal Day (I couldn’t attend when I was a prospective freshman sigh), otherwise known as UC Berkeley’s open house for new admits and alums. I also saw this as a time of reflection and realization that I’m almost done with my third year at Cal –crazy! And now especially as we are approaching the SIR date for the incoming freshman class, I thought it would be fitting to share about how I got into Cal and how He has proven to be faithful in my undergraduate life.
Fight On (?)
Throughout high school, I had set my eyes on attending my dream school, USC, after graduation. My dad and uncle attended USC for graduate school, and my cousin was enrolled as an undergraduate at the time. To me, USC had an aura of regalia, pride, and excellence that I wanted to take part in. The school was close to home and I thought that by attending, I would make my family, especially the relatives overseas, proud. My favorite color was already red, and my high school colors were a variation of red and yellow, clearly nodding its head at USC. I knew my grades and extracurriculars were on par with the USC admission rates, but my SAT/ACT scores did not reflect the same demeanor. I was also really interested in studying nutrition, but unfortunately USC did not offer this as a major. So instead, I opted to apply as a Global Health major. I actually had no idea what this major entailed, but it didn’t matter to me –after all, I thought merely getting into USC was enough (or so I thought).
I clearly remember that the USC decision announcements began to roll out starting the last Wednesday of March 2013. USC only mailed its admission decisions, and therefore there was no way to check for the decision online. When I arrived home that Wednesday, I was sad to find out that there was no envelope, neither big nor small, waiting for me in my white mailbox. It turns out that my neighborhood mail circuit was delayed. This meant that I had to wait a whole day to receive my admission decision –a whole day of waiting through class, watching everyone post about their USC certificates of admission on social media, and having my peers inquire about my admission status. Finally, after the the school bell rung on Thursday, I hurriedly drove home to check my mailbox.
Low and behold –the small envelope.
I knew it. I had a gut feeling that perhaps my test scores were the source of my application’s weakness. Or maybe because I wasn’t passionate enough about Global Health? Nevertheless, I was pretty crushed. I was nearing the end of “college admission decision month,” and the only schools that had yet to respond to me were UC Berkeley and University of Rochester. It seemed like I would have to settle (not saying that this is a bad school, but it wasn’t my first choice) for UC Davis if I still wanted to pursue nutrition.
Two hours later, the UC Berkeley admission results had been announced. And I got in…for nutrition!!! This is when I realized that “ha-ha that was clever of you God” moment, because if my mail circuit hadn’t been delayed, I would have had to go through an entire twenty-four hours of sadness rather than just two! UC Berkeley was never in my radar as a possible school, simply because I didn’t know where Berkeley was, and because I didn’t know that UC Berkeley was a “good school.” In my head, I just knew that USC was my ultimate goal, and I guess this goal became synonymous with the thoughts of it being the best school. I later learned that UC Berkeley was, and still is, the No. 1 public university in the world (and that it also outranks USC)!
As I entered my freshman year, God began to reveal His plan for me at UC Berkeley. And now looking back, I cannot find one instance where He has failed to provide for me. I have included two examples below (there are too many examples of God’s providence to fit into one blog post!) and I hope they echo the love and grace that the Father has for us.
In my senior year of high school, I really enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone and in some ways, I was considered a “rebel” at church because I didn’t view things as conservatively as my counselors or fellowship leaders did.
This attitude propelled me to want an assigned roommate for college. I saw it as an opportunity to witness and share the gospel should my assigned roommate be a non-believer. But even more so, I saw it as a chance to put my trust in God, because in this way, I would surrender my need for control. After all, Philippians 4:19 affirms this:
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
I ended up not having an assigned roommate. This was because a dear friend of mine, whose faith I genuinely admire, convinced me to try posting a description of myself on the UC Berkley housing/roommate Facebook page anyways, because at this point, the timing was considered too late to look for a roommate, so it would still be out of my control.
From this Facebook post, only one girl contacted me. And this girl ended up becoming my roommate. It turns out that she was the niece of my mom’s bridesmaid! What a small world. Aside from this coincidence, we had a similar upbringing, faith, and love for humor. In my freshman year, she answered my anxious scheduling questions, taught me about NCAA/NBA basketball, introduced me to Spotify, and was there for me to confide in when there were times that made my faith waver (such as failing tests, answering unanswerable apologetic questions etc.). I know that it was in God’s planning that out of all these 4,000 or so SIR’d admits, He provided me with such a great sister-in-Christ to live with my freshman year.
Which brings me to my floormates…
My roommate and I lived next to a triple that consisted of three seniors who moved back to the dorms in a fellowship effort to evangelize. These older sisters-in-Christ helped us look for churches and have been my source of advice and support as I routinely freaked out over the trauma that is Berkeley science classes. I saw the placement of their room right next to ours as a sign of God’s provision.
As for my other floormates, there were twelve or so other freshmen who were either out-of-state students or lived in SoCal like my roommate and I, which meant we were all unable to go home every weekend. It was in these weekends that we were able to bond, and now I call them some of my closest friends in college. It was also very interesting that out of this friends group, there were only three girls, and even more interestingly, we were also the only Christians in this group. It seemed very obvious to me that God placed me on this floor for a purpose –to share with them the life-changing message of Jesus Christ through my actions.
And so we did. Many of my floormates who had previously known nothing about Christianity or have been exposed to the church willingly attended fellowships, and a year later, one of them even accepted Christ (Praise the Lord!).
Truly, none of these experiences, would not be possible if it weren’t for God’s provision.
(saving me from my own anxiety, providing for me when I see impossibility or difficulty)
TO HIM I OWE
P.S. These two instances are just a small glimpse into the blessings God has given to me in my undergraduate life. I am sure that I will continue this blog post series as I approach my senior year at Cal (so keep reading)!