To What's Made Me Better

4 years, 270 edited articles, 70 written articles, 5 jobs, 2 majors, and 100 + memories later and my time at Cal Lutheran is coming to a close. I’m filled with so many conflicting emotions, I don’t know how to write this article. These have been the best four years of my life and while I’m ready to start a new part of my life, I’m not ready to leave my home.

Cal Lutheran was special the moment I stepped foot on the campus grounds. There was something in the air, in the environment, that just made me feel good and happy- like I belonged. This is why I chose to go here. I had never felt like that in my life and I had never seen so many genuinely happy and kind people in one place. Starting off my first year, I made some really great friends. My immediate roommate, Julie, became my best friend for the four years. We lived together for four years and we’ve made so many memories together, I can’t count them all. I also met one of my best friends, Sonora, at Cal Lutheran. We became closer in our Beginning Acting Class, but we had first met at one of the Student Orientation events, where we bonded over our dislike for someone who was being disrespectful to the presenter. I got my first job working as a Retail Associate for Forever 21 my first year at Cal Lutheran.

                                   Sonora and I, as Senior Resident Assistants, at the End of Training Banquet

I met more friends in my sophomore year, Fran and Simone. I got closer to another one of my best friends, Christina. She was basically my mentor and I learned everything from her in regards to the RA position that I would later apply for. Fran and I would go to the gym together and be miserable, but watch Glee afterwards and hang out. We bonded over not knowing how to line dance when we went for Simone’s birthday. Simone and I lived together with Christina and Julie and just had fun talking about everything and anything. Simone also convinced me to join HCCLU as a writer and I fell in love with it. I applied for the Writing Director position and got it and HCCLU has been a major part of my life since then.

                                          Ashley and I at our last HCCLU meeting in our typical pose

Junior year came up and Fran, Julie, Simone and I were living together. This was probably the best year, the four of us would spend weekends together just having fun. All of us were part of HCCLU. That was the first year I was Writing Director and I loved every part of it. I loved inspiring my team and encouraging them to write about their passions and praising them for their hard work. I met my littles this same year and that was fun, Alexis and I are the same person and Ashley is extrovert of our group. But they’re both sweethearts and they never fail to make me laugh. I became an RA that year and that was an experience that I wouldn’t change for the world. I got close to my staff members and because of my time as an RA, I applied for the SRA position in the same hall. This was also the same year that I got my first job at a law office and I loved it, I’m still working there now and I’ve even recruited some people to take my place.

                                            Alexis and I at one of our Big Little dates before she leaves for Spain

And now my senior year is here and soon, it’ll be over. This year I was Writing Director and Senior Editor for HCCLU, Senior Resident Assistant of Trinity, and a file clerk at a law office. I did both of my capstones for my majors and loved every bit of research I did. I applied to law school and I got in, I made my decision and my family will find out on graduation day. These past four years have made me a better person, Cal Lutheran and the people here have challenged me, encouraged me, and comforted me. There have been some really trying times, this year especially. From Borderline and the fires to my Lola passing away and some personal issues in between, this has been my most trying year. But I’m so happy with how far I’ve come and all the lessons I’ve learned from being here.

I learned how to love myself and this is a big one, because I hated myself for the longest time. I had so many issues and I never knew how to handle all of it until I came to Cal Lutheran. My mentors, my supervisors, my staff, my team and my friends all showed me why and how I’m not such a terrible person. In fact, I’ve done some pretty great things and I owe it to myself to acknowledge that. I also learned how to push myself while also understanding what my limits are and how to ask for help. I’ve grown so much as a person and I owe it to a lot of the people I’ve met at Cal Lutheran. I’ve learned about compassion and love and kindness for everyone, how to listen with an open heart and mind and how to give my all to everything I’m part of.

Thank you to the HCCLU Writing and Editing Team, thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your Writing Director for the past two years. These teams and the girls who have been part of these teams have inspired me and encouraged me to be a better person and a better leader. You’ve all put your heart into your work- whether it’s writing articles or taking the time to edit the articles, you’re all amazing. It’s been an absolute blessing to be part of this team for two and a half years and I know that you’ll continue to thrive with Rosie as the new Senior Editor. So goodbye to my team and to my time as an HCCLU writer.

                                                                The Writing Team at our last photoshoot

Thank you to the HCCLU Exec Team- these girls truly are some of the best people I know. You all work so hard for your team and for the chapter and I don’t think we appreciate all your work enough. Thank you for the encouragement and the praise that you’ve given me and for the love and support. Good-bye to an amazing group of leaders who are going to continue to make HCCLU the best it can be.

                                                                Some of the Exec at our last HCCLU meeting

Thank you to Res Life and to my staff, being an RA and an SRA has changed my life forever. Every person on my staff has made an impact on me and I am forever grateful for the support you gave during some of the most trying times. Thank you for showing me how to handle stressful situations and how to take care of myself. Thank you for your love and support, it means the world to me to know that my staff can depend on me. So goodbye to a group of people who are going to change the world with their drive, compassion, and kindness.

Thank you to my friends who have supported me every single step of the way. From deciding on what my second major should be to helping me figure out which law school to go to, your opinions matter to me. You’ve all changed my life in one way or another and I’m taking the lessons I’ve learned from all of you with me, in my heart as I move onto the next chapter of my life. Thank you for your unconditional love and support. Thank you for the laughter, the cries, the hugs, the “I love yous” as we leave each other, the food adventures, the grocery shopping trips, Target trips, the late night talks, the middle of the hallway talks, and every moment in between. This is not goodbye, this is a promise to keep in touch- regardless of our distance. We won’t talk as often, that’s a given. But I’m not going to forget about you in my life and the impact you’ve made.

                                     From left to right: me, Kira, Fran, Julie, and Simone at Disneyland

My last goodbye is to myself. Goodbye to the younger, slightly insecure girl who didn’t really know what she was doing when she first started college. Goodbye to the girl who thought she wasn’t going to be good enough to fulfill her dreams. Goodbye to the girl who thought that she couldn’t get the positions she applied for, who thought she could never be a leader, and who thought she could never leave an impact on people. Goodbye to the me who was worried about pleasing everyone else in her life and never focused on herself.

As I start this new chapter, I’m saying hello to a new life, to new friends, and to new ways to stay in touch with old friends. I’m saying hello to a new me- who knows that she’s grown and who knows that she’s going to make a difference. Hello to the girl who’s going to law school, after working so hard for it for the past 21 years of her life. With all my goodbyes and all the future hellos, I’m looking back at these past four years with nothing but love in my heart. So after editing 270 articles, writing 70 (71 if we include this one), the 5 jobs that I’ve had, the two majors I worked hard in, the friends I’ve made, and the opportunities I’ve taken, I close this part of my story.

With all my love,

Kyla

All photos courtesy of author