This past week I have been hard at work planning a department wide jeopardy (it was also my 22nd birthday but that is another story) and I realized how important my department has been to my college experience. I think a lot of students struggle when they first get to college with feeling like they belong and get homesick without parents to talk to about it. These feelings are normal but I think my early interactions with people in the Ming Hsieh department of electrical and computer engineering meant I didn’t have as many issues adjusting to college life. I remember my first office hours I went to was with the chair of the department (he’s an important guy) and while I was waiting one of the advisors, Diane, came over and offered me and some of the other female EEs sitting there some lemon cakes and tea. We started all chatting and laughing and she was telling us all about the ins and outs of the people there and what was once a really intimidating situation for me became fun and comfortable. That’s just the beginning, we have a lot of fun events where each time I feel more and more loved and respected by the people there. They always ask how I am doing and what classes are hard and what I am doing that weekend. Even though I was on my own away from my parents I felt incredibly loved and cared for. With that love I became a more confident engineer, something I didn’t think would have been possible in high school. I learned how amazing it is when you build these connections and how lucky I am to have these people so happy to be there for me.
At the beginning of this semester when everything went online, I was really upset and I ended up getting quoted in some LATimes piece about it. Immediately I had so many of my old faculty emailing me asking if I was okay and wanted to talk. It meant so much to me and was just another sign that I was surrounded by people who really cared about me and wanted me to be happy. That’s just the kind of environment I get to live in, they care so much and I just want to say thank you to all the incredible people who make up the Ming Hsieh department of electrical and computer engineering, y’all are rockstars!