I Graduated

Thank you UCI for some of the most formative years of my life. I never knew I would be able to do some of the things I have done here, and for that I am eternally grateful. PC: Lauren Umaguing

Thank you UCI for some of the most formative years of my life. I never knew I would be able to do some of the things I have done here, and for that I am eternally grateful. PC: Lauren Umaguing

I graduated more than a week ago and, if you can judge from my lack of blog posts as of late, you can bet I’ve been busy “living it up” and making these last few moments in college count. (That, or the post-grad struggles really got to me.)

It’s safe to say that I’m on the side of the first (thank goodness), though I have to admit the feeling of “liberation and release” is a little unsettling for me. I’m not used to having all this free time with no plans or goals set in stone; no schedule or routine in mind; no feeling of needing to prove or establish or do anything with myself anymore. It’s a strange headspace where I feel like I’m sitting on top of the clouds, not knowing where to go or what to do with myself. (And here I go hating myself for being like every other fresh college graduate who has no idea what to do either.)

But, I’ve found it’s time to get creative.

Though, before that all begins, I want to commemorate my past four years here at UC Irvine with you all. It’s been one hell of a journey and fun ride that my small town Northern California soul would be proud to look upon myself today to see how much I’ve grown out of my shell and bubble to put myself out there.

  • I wanted to play music. I created fun YouTube covers, played at a number of light-hearted talent shows, and met some amazingly talented musicians, vocalists and friends.
  • I wanted to write. I used my voice on my blog as a medium to reach other souls, some of whom have personally reached out to me with the kindest words so dear to my heart.
  • I wanted to get closer to the musicians who inspire me. It’s crazy to think how I’ve befriended manager Mike Kaminsky of Meg & Dia, and am now able to call Mike and the Framptons regular people I know–and who know me. (And I even got to write that amazing story on Dia’s 10-year career for my literary journalism workshop. Sweet.)
  • I wanted to get involved in the music industry. I ended up interviewing tons of local up-and-coming artists, singer/songwriters, musicians and  pick apart their brains a bit to learn just a little more about myself and about the music industry–and maybe why I love/hate it too.
  • I wanted to pass on my love for the Philippine culture. I involved myself in the Kababayan organization for four years, teaching one cultural dance suite and then coordinating the entire culture night the next year. I learned a lot through this process, gained invaluable connections and friends, and was able to share my love with other souls who knew nothing about their culture.

I’d love to share some photos with you all from the past few weeks. Here are a few photos and the blurb I shared with friends. I hope it finds you well, as well.

When I first came to UCI, all I ever said I wanted to do was to write, play music and be a part of Kababayan’s culture night. I’ve doubted spending my time as a student, procrastinated playing music too many nights, stayed until 5am writing papers, spent too much money on food runs and decolonized my mind with too many club meetings. What I was given back was an endless amount of shared memories and genuine moments with individuals as I began to understand my place in this world as a Filipina-American woman.
From all the YouTube stars who hit on me, musicians I’ve befriended, individuals who’ve believed in me more than I believed in myself and made me laugh, cry, and stress over these past four years, I never knew I would be able to have done any of the things I have done. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
I’ll miss you UCI. Thanks for the good times.
#UCIGrad #ClassOf2015 #DoubleMajor #SchoolOfHumanities #LiteraryJournalism #FilmAndMediaStudies #Kababayan #PASS #Alyansa #PACN35 #OteroMusicHall #NewUniversity #ZotZot #Blessed #OnToTheRealWorld

And here’s a fun moment where I was able to capture such an epic moment of graduation, and share it with dear friends.

If I have learned anything about myself these past four years, it is to always live confidently in your own name (and no one else’s), but to also realize your potential as part of a community. I took the chance and pushed myself when I knew I was too scared myself. I put myself in opportunities to lead when I hated being in front of people; I went to countless concerts by the ones I love to only make me feel even more jealous of their work; I wrote and wrote until I realized I do have a voice and could still use improvement; I went to Vegas, had my first taste of alcohol, and involved myself in questionable things while I tried to stay as true and honest to myself.

“You’ve grown a lot Rachel.” “You’ve carried yourself well.” “People live vicariously through you.”

I’ve found that maybe I do have something to say, at the end of it all. Maybe people do care about the things I do or how I live my life (and sometimes people don’t). All I know is that I’ve loved sharing and chronicling my journey of growing up with you. (After all, isn’t that what my blog header first stated when I started in middle school?)

But, the one thing that has kept me in college the most was this little saying I told myself in my head all along:

“Everything is temporary. Maybe you’re here because you’re not ready to show yourself yet. Let yourself live and grow and grow comfortable with yourself. Love yourself, first. Then you can go.”



5 responses to “I Graduated

  1. Congrats, Rachel! You’re amazing and I’m sure you’re gonna find yourself in music industry. I can see that you’re really passionate about music. That’s good! 🙂
    Welcome to the new life! The journey has been waiting.

    • Thank you so much! That means a lot to hear. And it really just means a lot how you’ve been such an active reader. I can only hope for the best. “The journey has been waiting”–there’s no better way to say it. Thank you!

  2. Congrats, Rachel! I’ve loved reading through your posts the past year or so. As a fellow Class of 2015 graduate, I wish you good luck on your your post-grad life, and I can’t wait to read about it!

    • Thank you! That means so much to hear. I really do appreciate how you have been such an active reader of my blog. I hope your post-grad travels suit you well as well! I can only hope for the best!

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