My first two years at Riverside City College were absolutely miserable.
However, I don’t blame the college or the faculty members for my feelings of disenfranchisement. .I was miserable because I was lonely.
In high school I only had two close friends. I met both of these life long friends in middle school and we stuck together all throughout high school.
After high school, both of my friends had vastly different plans for their futures. One decided to go to UC Davis to pursue biomedical engineering, while the other decided to enter the workforce.
Although I was proud of the both of them for choosing a path that made them happy, I was also hurt because I knew our paths would diverge and I was no longer going to enjoy the company that brought me so much joy for almost seven years.
So when I started attending RCC, I knew I had to start over and make new friends. That was easier said than done.
The lack of interaction I was able to get with my peers in the classroom on a daily basis made it difficult to make new friends. When I did have some time to interact with a new person, I was usually met with weird glances or cold shoulders, as if many of the students just didn’t want to give me the time of day or didn’t care enough to bother with me.
So after many failed attempts of trying to interact with people, I gave up. I assumed that this was the culture at RCC. Everybody either minded their own business or already had an established friend group that wasn’t open to adding a new kid.
For two years, I was alone.
My routine at school consisted of finding a place to sit by myself where I wouldn’t bother anybody, call my best friends only to be greeted by that stupid “please leave your message after the tone” voice mail and just wait until my next class started.
I expected more of the same routine for my third year. I mentally prepared by telling myself that it was my last year and I could try again when I transfered.
Then I entered the Viewpoints newsroom.
Afraid and expecting an immediate cold shoulder, I was thrown off when the Editor-in-Chief greeted me with a big smile and asked me if I was there to join Viewpoints.
The kindness continued when I explained that I wanted to be a photographer and was immediately surrounded from all angles by other reporters and photographers exclaiming how happy they were to have more photographers on their team.
After my first day, I went home with a sense of relief. Even my parents acknowledged that I seemed happier than usual.
Since that day I have become good friends with everybody in the newsroom and I have so many amazing memories of all the good times we shared throughout the fall 2019 semester. All the football games we drove to, all the jokes we cracked and all the hard work we put into the paper made me forget how lonely I felt before.
Before I knew it, the semester was over. During that winter break, I counted down the days until spring 2020. I was shocked because before I joined Viewpoints I would hate even thinking about having to go back to school. Yet, one semester with Viewpoints changed the opinion of RCC that I held for two years.
Being a part of Viewpoints helped me grow, not only as a photographer and journalist, but as a person as well. Thanks to the amazing people in the newsroom, I was able to learn how to write stories, conduct interviews and, most importantly, to enjoy myself at school.
Unfortunately, this is my last semester at RCC. I just wish I could go back in time and join Viewpoints during my first semester.
However, I’m grateful that I was able to spend this time with everybody in the newsroom. It made me happy knowing that I was accepted at a college where I thought I was all alone.
So to anybody who feels like they are alone in college or that they don’t have a place to call home, just know that Viewpoints will welcome you with open arms.
And to my family at Viewpoints, thank you.