Leaving Oxy, Taking Memories
January 2, 2015
Blogger: Sarah Tamashiro
It’s 11:04 Hawaii Standard Time on New Year’s Eve 2014, moments away from a new year. Those that interact with social media know that recently Facebook and Instagram have been compiling some of the best moments of your year to share with the rest of the internet. I’m not a fan of these types of things but I like the concept of reflecting on how much love and joy we’ve been fortunate to share with others over the past 365 days. As a recent graduate, I’d like to take this last blog post to reflect on how much admiration I have for Oxy.
Hawaii is the “50th state” but really it's a country far removed from the rest of the US – historically, culturally, and geographically. Over the past few years, my time has been devised unevenly between LA and Hawaii. The constant travel made it difficult to feel grounded in any one place at any given point in time. This became emotionally difficult to manage as I felt myself starting to identify myself as an island girl, desperately wanting to forever root myself in the Pacific. I can still taste the bitterness and extreme anguish I had about leaving home, having to cut short the work I was doing in my community to go back to a city I was a stranger to.
However, my feelings towards LA and Oxy weren’t negative. I came to really appreciate the school that took me in and this became more apparent as my last month of school approached. Eagle Rock and Highland Park is home to a lot of amazing people and some of my most heartwarming interactions with the residents of Northeast Los Angeles has been through waving to store owners through windows, having conversations with people at the bus stop, and smiling at those passing by (especially young children!!!) I frequented many of the stores, restaurants, and businesses in the area and I am truly going to miss learning more about them with every visit. As the area changes with gentrification, what will happen to these wonderful people? Will I our paths ever cross again? Do they know how much of an impact they’ve had on me?
Saying goodbye to my professors wasn’t easy either. They did an excellent job of preparing to write my senior comprehensive project. I learned about myself throughout the process of writing the hardest paper of my life – what my writing process is like (staring out the window and leaning against walls before writing), what areas of research get me excited, and how much time it takes to write long essays (a long time) – and getting over the initial shock has given me the confidence to say to myself every time I sit down to bust out an essay, “Hey, I can actually write this!” Conversations with my professors regarding my work and progress, independent research, and sometimes even personal questions have been nothing but genuine. I wish my time with them was longer so that we could still have those meaningful conversations (aka I want to be able to have perpetual office hours with them) but I foresee having a continuing relationship with many of them long into the future.
My college friends have been truly wonderful too. Transferring wasn’t lonely thanks to them and I look forward to seeing their excellent work change LA and the rest of the world in the future. They’ve already done soooo much while we were still undergrads that I’m sure the best is yet to come.
Everyone’s senior year (or senior semester) has a different impact on them. As the remaining amount of time starts to dwindle, relish in it and provide yourself time to enjoy – not fear – the reflections and memories that come to mind. It’s a fun time and I hope that everyone can leave their dream school on good terms like I have with Oxy.
Wishing you true bliss this next year!
Aloha aku, aloha mai,