The Campuswide Honors Program at UCI helped me discover who I want to be. As I write those words I realize they sound a bit dramatic, but that makes them no less true.
When I began at UCI as a freshmen I knew that I liked books and working with kids, but wasn’t quite sure what to do with these interests. I thought perhaps to become a high school English teacher but was not entirely certain if this was the path I wanted to take. In the CHP, especially the freshmen dorm full of other Honors students, I experienced for the first time the fun of interacting with a diverse group of students who were as interested in their own fields as I was in mine. Living with these other excited, intelligent people gave me permission to really enjoy what I loved and helped solidify my confidence that this is what I wanted to pursue: writing.
In my last year as an undergraduate at UCI, the CHP helped me to explore the reality of my ideas for the future through the Senior Honors Thesis. Because I could design this yearlong project any way I liked, I decided to attempt something I hand toyed with for several years: writing a novel. Before the Honors Thesis I had not had the confidence to undertake a project like this, but with the encouragement and support of the CHP, it seemed much more possible. Simply accomplishing this, writing my story from beginning to end, gave me the assurance that I was capable of pursuing writing as a career, instead of taking some other, more certain path.
After I graduated from the CHP, I was lucky to continue my education in the MFA program in Fiction at UCI. Today I am working on a new novel, teaching writing classes of new undergraduates, editing the literary magazine Faultline, and I stay in touch with the friends I made in the CHP even though they’re now spread across the country pursuing what they love. My time at UCI as an Undergraduate was essential in helping me discover what it is I truly want to do with my life; mainly because of the individual care of the Honors Program staff and their belief that I could do anything I wanted.