Every day is a great day to be a Tiger. That’s the first lesson I learned from my O-Team leader during orientation. As a member of the Class of 2021, I joined the herd of first-years engulfed by a sea of orange O-Team leaders yelling "Io Triumphe!" this August. But, my Oxy experience began earlier in the summer.
Alongside 37 other students from multicultural backgrounds, I participated in Oxy’s Multicultural Summer Institute (MSI). MSI consists of a month of rigorous academics paired with an introduction to the abundance of resources on campus. Furthermore, MSI provides a space for POC first-years like myself to build the necessary skills and relationships with professors, TAs, RAs and fellow students to achieve well in all aspects of life during the coming semester. More than anything though, MSI gave me a community of love, support and open conversation that I continue to return to everyday
Due to MSI, my first day of Oxy was filled with happy reunions with many friends that I had made over the summer. The feeling was as if returning to home, but there were other new first-year Tigers roaming around campus to be met as well. Leaving our room’s door open, my roommate and I easily made friends with the other amazing individuals in our hall on top of new friends in our O-Team, classes, and through other friends’ connections. I may not talk to or remember the hometown of every person I met during my first weeks at Oxy, but the feeling of seeing a known face and sharing a smile from across the Quad perks up my day every time.
Through the encouragement of the friends I’ve made at Oxy, I’ve continued to play music on campus. I was accompanied by a dear friend to an audition, ate cake with said friend post-audition, and celebrated when I was invited to play with the orchestra and given a scholarship to take lessons with the oboist of the L.A. Philharmonic—all while also having my eyes and heart focused on other passions such as history and international relations. This is the advantage of a liberal arts education in Los Angeles: the community that supports you, the opportunities of a large municipal city that can’t be found elsewhere, and the ability to pursue multiple avenues of academia, arts and science while staying true to one’s interests and passions.
From receiving free tickets to the Hollywood Bowl from my oboe professor to eating fried foods and, of course, cake in the Cooler at 1 a.m. on the weekend, the beginning of my Oxy experience excites me for what is to come. As I continue to learn about Oxy, there’s one thing that’s obviously clear: every day is a great day to be a tiger. Tigers are strong, passionate students, who take care of and support their own. I am proud to be considered a part of this community.