The strange pursuit of a degree and the surprises I encountered along the way


Creating four years of college memories in two in the age of the pandemic


Few outcomes can be predicted in life, and the destination we land in is often reached by unforeseen circumstances. No matter how much I had planned in high school for a future at UC Davis, I could never have predicted the trajectory of my college experience, and I know I am among many. Walking to graduation with a degree is about the only thing that stuck in my brainchild of college. But those unpredictabilities were key to creating a remarkable future.

Change major

Coming to UC Davis to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine, I could never have predicted that I would graduate with an English degree in my pocket. This decision was the result of many late-night conversations, a few grueling finals, and a change of heart. No matter how well I had believed my plan — four years of undergraduate work at UC Davis followed by four more years of vet school — might work, I was struggling to excel with a load of heavy work in science.

As soon as I started taking English lessons, I found my taste for learning again. It was refreshing to discuss and ponder interesting texts with classmates who were just as interested as I was. Not all classes were my favorites, but with that spark to motivate me, it became even more important to show up and work hard.

I knew I was a writer when I decided to contact one of my first college English teachers and ask for advice on my relationship with writing. She emphasized my poetic ear and encouraged the practice of creative writing.

It was hard to explain to my friends and family why I had made such a drastic change, but I knew that by honing my skills, I could take advantage of the many opportunities for writers at Davis.

The future you have in mind will change, but always aim for something”

Write for The California Aggie

I had been a reader of The California Aggie since my freshman year. In fact, I remember flipping through the pages of one on my rounds. The isolation of the pandemic motivated me to get more involved, and the result of connecting with organizations like The Aggie kept me informed when they were looking for new writers. During this time, I applied on a whim and ended up with a job as an editor for the campus news desk.

Working as a journalist, I was able to meet and speak with campus leaders, advocates, and representatives from different parts of the Davis community. The interviews helped me better understand the value of a great community. I saw it as a goal to represent the different facets of Davis and their respective issues, publishing articles about discrimination against students with disabilities and period poverty.

Join Greek Life

If you asked me in high school, rushing a sorority would be my last thought as far as college plans go. Most of my non-Greek friends still can’t believe I’m in a sorority. However, within a few rushed days, it became clear to me that the stereotypical portrayal of the sorority girl was far from reality in Davis. In fact, I discovered that my sorority sisters came from a variety of backgrounds and were involved all over campus as club leaders, athletes, dancers, and more.

We all came here for the same reason, to join a found family. From family dinners to sports fraternities, every experience I have with my sisters brings us closer together. I know that after graduating I can count on them for life. The bonds I have with my sisters have helped me to have more confidence in myself and made me love this part of the Davis community.

Writing a specialization dissertation in creation

My application to the Creative Writing Honors Program began as a New Year’s resolution: to receive as many rejection letters as possible. If rejection was an inevitable step in submitting applications, it was easier to just try. The day I learned that the project proposal had been accepted, I called my partner and said “I can’t believe it, I feel like I’m dreaming, really!” The project is a collection of poetry with the goal of capturing Davis’ community consciousness. I think of the classes and opportunities I had at Davis as groundwork for cultivating this long-running creative project. I look forward to my time at Shields next fall term researching and writing my project.

I firmly believe that it is never too late to get involved. Writing for The Aggie, joining Greek Life, and writing a creative honors thesis were all opportunities I undertook in my final year (and a quarter) at Davis. Even if you can’t predict when a pandemic will hit or you’ll hate chemistry, things can work out. The future you have in mind will change, but always aim for something.

I can be sure of my values ​​when I leave the graduation stage. Getting involved in different areas of the UC Davis culture has been the best thing I’ve done (apart from graduating). Getting into things and joining clubs that I found interesting helped me cultivate my own interests and develop an appreciation for the community. It was a privilege to say that I work for The California Aggie and will use the skills I learned in my future projects.


Kristine Trent

Written by: Kristin Trent

Kristin Trent is a writer for the campus news desk. She joined The Aggie in her senior year, in the winter of 2021. She is graduating in the fall from the Honors Creative Writing program with a bachelor’s degree in English.


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