Blogger: Aviva Alvarez-Zakson
I’m a first-time blogger here, besides that one time I tried to be an angsty teenager and found out I was actually really happy, but I digress. As the tour guide coordinator here at Oxy, allow me to introduce myself in my tour guide fashion: My name is Aviva Alvarez-Zakson, a senior, Los Angeles native, history major, education and Japanese studies double minor here at Oxy. Outside of my work at the Office of Admission as the tour guide coordinator, I am a member of the Varsity Swim and Dive team and co-president of the Student Athlete-Advisory Committee on campus. I have also served with Orientation staff (like many of the blog posters before me) once as an O-Team Leader and twice as O-CORE. I have a couple other things here and there that I’m also involved in, but let’s move on.
As a senior this year, and an excitable, emotional person (Kristen Bell + sloths level), I’ve been coping a lot with things ending. Orientation and O-Team this year was filled to the brim with laughs, tears, cinnamon rolls (the hugs, not the pastry), and so many other wonderful moments. While the week had its last-firsts, it had its actual lasts
O-Team shaped most of who I am today as a leader, an Oxy student, and a person. As the last student marched into Thorne Hall for Convocation, I found myself having an identity crisis. One of my most profound Oxy experiences was officially over, and I felt lost and a little heartbroken--and that was before the semester had even officially started! So, something I started doing to try and savor every moment in a positive way is celebrating these little things I like to call “last-firsts.”
Some of them are pretty silly like the little “last-first pizza slice from the Cooler of the year” moment I had (it was worth every cheesy calorie), or the last-first Thai Eagle Rox purchase (notice the food theme).
There were also some academic themed ones: last-first paper of the year, last-first guest lecture. And a couple were really profound, like my last-first practice of the season. After this practice, I suddenly realized that my career as a collegiate athlete is actually coming to an end. I had to take a minute to look around at all of the people who have shaped me as a human being these past few years knowing that I will never have something like this again. I have been a team athlete for almost my entire life, and my team here at Oxy has given me so much support, opportunities, and confidence. It’s pretty scary to think about what comes next.
So there I was, sad again. But while my time on the team will eventually end, I know the friendships and family I made here never will, and for that I am so thankful. We always say, “Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger,” so I know I will always have them through the rest of this year and beyond. Now, I’m just living up and loving every minute I can.
After a needed meeting with my advisor (shout out to Professor Gasper!) I am beginning to realize that everything isn't ending, but I am coming to new beginnings. Right now, it’s not easy to think of things that way, but deep down I know it’s true. I have a lot of life to go, and so many experiences coming my way, and I have this wonderful Oxy family supporting me. I guess if you are looking for a takeaway or wisdom in this post, call me a cheese-ball, but I’d say never take your college experience for granted. Take every opportunity you can and make every day count.
Your college experience is what you make of it, so make it amazing. I’m really okay with being sad to leave; it means that I have done a lot worth missing.