When I think about how I ended up at the University of Washington, it seems a little crazy. In complete honesty, I had never heard of the UW until I was flipping through a book filled with colleges in search of schools on the west coast. I decided to apply because it was near a city and because it was a large university. A few days before the final application was due I decided to look a little deeper into the school, which is how I found the honors program. After a quick look through the informational page I knew I had to apply. Even though I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go out of state at the time, I knew that the interdisciplinary nature of the program was extremely intriguing to me.
About a month later I decided to really research the University of Washington. The more I looked into the faculty, school, and the location the more I wanted to go. I also found myself becoming more and more excited about my out of state prospects - the University of Washington in particular - than my in state prospects. This, I realized, was because I was craving a change. I wanted to throw myself into a challenging academic environment in a new place that I had never been before and dare myself to succeed. The University of Washington seemed like the perfect environment to do so, and the honors program would bring the added academic challenge I desired. All of a sudden, two months after submitting my application, this school I had just discovered became my first choice.
I really want to make the most out of my college experience. I want to participate in clubs and organizations that align with my interests in mental health and political education. I want to expand my knowledge by taking interesting classes that don’t apply to my major. For example, I would really like to take an astrology course at some point during my time here at the UW. I want to challenge my self by taking up leadership roles. I would like to learn more about the global society and to get involved in initiatives that help me take part as a citizen of the world. Now, these statement may seem vague, but that is because I am trying to keep myself open. I arrived here with a pretty certain path in terms of majors and potential careers, so I want to leave myself open to explore new things through the clubs and organizations that I do. I hope that by embracing the interdisciplinary nature of honors courses I will be able to explore others fields in a way that I can connect back to my majors.
I don’t really have a set plan for where I want to go from here in my life at the UW, but I am very excited about this opportunity. As of this first quarter I am trying to find my footing in this new environment. From the moment I arrived on campus it’s been quite a whirlwind. Even though I’ve only been here for a little over two weeks I feel as though I’ve been here for months, and the dust hasn’t fully settled yet. Still, as the academic quarter really begins, I plan on pushing myself out of my comfort zone in order to pursue the opportunities offered by this school and by the honors program. I know how lucky I am to be here and I want to show that I have earned my spot.
When I started my first quarter here at the UW I was anxious and excited and ready to start my new life in Seattle. I wanted to expand my knowledge and push myself out of my comfort zone, and I have to say I’m proud of what I have accomplished in pursuit of this goal. First, I did research into organizations on campus I would want to be a part of and found the Sexual Abuse and Relationship Violence Activism (SARVA) branch of ASUW and have submitted a volunteer application. I hope to be more involved with this branch as time goes on as the issue of sexual harassment on college campuses is an important issue to me. I also did more research into the Peer Health Educators and hope to apply once a spot opens up and applications come out. Both of these tackled the topic of mental health, which is something I care deeply about and hope to be involved in.
In terms of being involved in political education and pushing myself out of my comfort zone I applied for an internship with an organization called Citizen University to help put together their annual convention. This year the theme is Reckoning and Repair following the election. This organization’s purpose is to teach people to be active citizen and exercise their political power, something I also am very passionate about. I’m proud of myself for taking the initiative and asking the professor in one of my honors classes, Eric Liu, for the opportunity and pursuing it. At first, I was a little intimidated by the prospect of tackling an internship within my first year of college, but this opportunity was too valuable to pass up, so I took the leap. I’m very glad I did because I feel that this is going to be an amazing learning and growing opportunity.
In terms of my classes I think I did pretty well in adjusting, but there is still a lot of room for improvement in terms of my study habits. My majors involve a lot more reading and writing than did most classes at my high school and I need to do a better job at estimating just how long it will take me to get a certain reading done or an essay written. I’m doing good so far but again, I still have a ways to go. Hopefully by the end of the year I will have it down.
I hope that in the next coming quarters, I’ll be able to expand my social circle a bit more. I live in Mercer Court, which tends to be a bit isolating as there is not a lot of opportunity to meet people outside of those who live in your apartment. I hope that by volunteering with SARVA I will meet more people, but I’m also planning to visit the people I’ve met in Terry more often and make an effort to branch out more than I have this quarter.
This quarter has been very exciting for me in terms of opportunities and classes, and hopefully bodes well for my future at the University of Washington and my future in the Honors Program.
I think there are a few ways in which I, in my own life and choices, can effect the issue of climate change. I think the first step is to try to reduce my carbon footprint by try to walk and take public transportation whenever I can and by also recycling and composting whenever I can. These are the first small steps I can take. I think the next thing I can do is help build the social movement around climate change. As stated in the global challenges discuss, in order for politicians to take this issue seriously we must show that we are concerned about this issue and willing to make changes and that climate change is at the forefront of our thoughts and concerns. This can be done by protesting and signing petitions. This can also be done by contacting my senator or house representative’s office and expressing my concern about climate change and organizing others to do so as well.
I think another thing that is really important and that was also stated during Global challenges is that we cannot be complacent about this issue. If we care about it we have to talk about it and fight for reform. This again can be done through protesting or presenting concerns to a politician in senate or congress, and even at the local level. Another important topic that was touched on is that in this era, action at the local level is going to become increasingly important. Therefore we must appeal to our local governors about passing climate regulation.
Another way that I could get involved is by protesting and petitioning big companies to become more eco friendly. Even though I myself could become more eco friendly, it is much more effective if big companies try to reduce their carbon footprint. Again, by expressing concerns to local and federal politicians there can be regulations passed that restrict companies from producing as much of a carbon foot print, but another way we can go after the companies is by addressing them directly.
These are the actions that I can take now as a college student. It mostly involves me being very conscious of my own carbon footprint and trying to reduce it, and ensuring that my concerns about climate change are heard, but in the future I hope to be able to do more. I hope to go on to be a lawyer, and later a politician. I think in both these fields I can enact movement towards preservation of our climate. I hope as well that when I am in these positions I can bring these issues to a more global focus by digging into international relationships. I think that agreements such as the Paris agreement are great steps to making a unified global effort to preserve our nation. But hopefully we will progress to more restrictions and cleaner energy sources in the future and I hope to help facilitate those agreements and transitions.