Blogger: Emily Johnson
Spring has officially sprung. And for this graduating senior, that means I’ve started saying some sad “goodbyes.” Yet, even as I am slowly being phased out of Oxy life, spring represents my favorite time of year at Occidental. Every spring, the roses on campus bloom right on cue for the admitted students, just as decisions have been mailed out and it makes me remember what it was like to make the fateful decision to come to Oxy four years ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I did not enjoy the college decision process whatsoever. First, there was the grueling application process, reading page after page of the Fiske guide, drafting at least four personal statement topics, and visiting school after school. Honestly, now that I am on the other side of this process, I don’t know how I did it. More so, I don’t know how my parents put up with me and helped me through it. The stress level in my household was palpably higher during the months leading to spring 2011.
But no one prepared me for the next stage—choosing a school after I had gotten my acceptance and rejection letters.
Suddenly, between April 1st and May 1st, I was expected to decide where to spend the next four years of my life—the “best four years” of my life. This was no small feat. I visited colleges again, I reexamined the Fiske guide, and I created lists of pros and cons, but honestly, many of the schools started to blur together. All of the small liberal arts schools where I had been admitted offered small classes, access to professors, and incredible opportunities for campus involvement.
But, they didn’t all feel like home.
When I visited Oxy, I didn’t feel like a visitor or an outsider. Instead, I found myself at ease and comfortable on campus. Whether this can be attributed to the down-to-earth nature of the students, the beauty of the campus, or the laid-back nature of Los Angeles, I listened to the quiet voice that said this could be home, and I’m so glad I did. Ultimately, that feeling became the reason I chose Oxy and the reason I came to call this tiny oasis in the middle of the City of Angels my home.
Although people often consider Los Angeles an impersonal monstrosity, I have never felt more “in community” than during my four years here. Whether with my psychology major friends, the 300 students in Dance Production, or that one guy I saw at a coffee shop downtown and then again on my flight home, Oxy provided community and made it possible for this northern-Californian to call southern California “home.”
So, as we prepare to welcome the class of 2019, and the class of 2015 begins to say their goodbyes, I have nothing but gratitude for the fact that I listened to my gut that fateful spring. Or in the words of the great philosopher Winnie the Pooh, “how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”.