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How I’ve Handled Being Involved In Four Very Different Communities in College

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal State Chico chapter.

It’s a bittersweet and pressing reality that I’m graduating in just over a week. As everything in my college career is coming to a close, I’ve found myself constantly doing some sort of work, yet still somehow scrambling to keep from falling behind. As the semester comes to a close, things are getting a little better, the light at the end of the tunnel is glowing a little brighter. However, this feeling had me reminiscing on how academically and organizationally diverse my college experience has been. If you’re still in the early years of your undergrad degree, or if you’re moving on to another campus to further your education, I’d like to reflect on the effect this experience has had on me in hopes that you’ll be inspired to take a similar route (without the slightly overwhelming schedule, hopefully).

Her Campus

I’ll just start this section off by saying: Yay!! What a fun, supportive, and genuinely freeing community Her Campus has been. The addition of Her Campus into my schedule was definitely a move made late into my college years, as our lovely Chico chapter is brand new this year. Despite my shorter time involved in this organization compared to others I am a part of, Her Campus has allowed me to truly find a sense of self. I’ll get into more details later, but I am also a part of the campus radio station, KCSC, I work at the Anthropology Museum on campus, and I’ve become deeply immersed in the community of my major, Media Arts Production. Now, let me make it clear, I love and adore those other areas of my college career. However, they all involve a connection to people who have the same background or interests as me. Her Campus was the first thing I did solely because I love writing. None of my friends joined with me, I knew no one going into this (except for photography class with Alia, shout out to you girl), and that felt so empowering. Through Her Campus, I’ve met so many kind people who inspire me just by example to work hard and show up for myself. I’ve been able to find my passion for writing again and explore ideas about my future I never would have had the confidence to do otherwise. I will admit that Her Campus (along with everything else in my life) has been difficult to keep up with as the weight of finishing senior year closes in. Despite that though, this space is one where I can truly relax, be myself, and just prioritize creativity. That is an experience and a comfort I wouldn’t trade for anything.

The Museum of Anthropology

I always tell people I have the best job in the world. I sincerely, and wholeheartedly believe that. In the fall of my sophomore year, I walked into the museum across from the entrance to Meriam Library (for the Chico people who I know don’t know where this museum is, as most people do not) for an interview. For the past two and half years since that day, I’ve had the time of my life. Anthropology, if you don’t know, is the study of people. That means that as long as people are somehow involved, we will have an exhibit about it. Now, a job is a job. I still do normal stuff like clean, greet guests, and open and close the exhibits during my shifts. But I also get to give tours to kids and watch them become mesmerized by a story or game. I get to meet incredible artists and students who work for months to build and perfect each new exhibit. I get to host grand opening events and talk to amazing faculty with advice and ideas that have stuck with me for good. On slower days, I get to open the doors and listen to the sounds of campus while finishing up an article and listening to good music. Above everything though, the absolute best part of my job is my boss. We eat lunch together, drive to events together, have deep morning talks as we open the exhibits, walk to faculty gatherings for free coffee and pastries, give each other outfit advice, and dish about the latest drama in our lives. It has been one of those experiences that I will never, ever forget, and has shaped who I am as an adult and a person. It allows me to make lifelong connections, step outside the bounds of my major, and continue to learn about cultures, ideas, and the world. All while sipping on coffee with my boss/bestie.

Media Arts Production

A fun fact about me, I started my freshman year at Chico State undeclared. Every single day I am in disbelief that I was lucky enough to stumble upon this major while scouring the Chico State website. I never was particularly attached to the idea of becoming the next big Hollywood name. Instead, it was the opportunity to be creative, hands-on, and collaborative that drew me to this major. And it did not disappoint. Not only have I met the people that I will be my lifelong friends, but I have had such amazing, fun, genuinely important experiences through all of my classes over the years. The one thing to know about the Media Arts major is that it’s tiny. It’s slowly starting to grow since media is basically everything, but during my four years, we were a little team. Every semester I knew every single person in my classes, my professors were one of the same three that I’ve always had, and every class just felt like I was hanging out with a bunch of friends. There’s a difference between being involved in your major because it’s what you’re passionate about and what will shape your future, and being involved in your major because you are connected to all your peers. I will walk away from this school and this major with, of course, a valuable education in the field, but more than that, I’ll walk away knowing that despite the fact that we’re graduating, I can call any of these people up years from now, and it will be like no time passed at all.

KCSC Radio

Being a part of the campus radio station was genuinely the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve been able to explore my love of music, grow my media production skills, and make connections that will last forever. When I first started as an intern on the production team, I was able to hone my abilities in photography and videography, all while becoming friends with all of the other interns. Meeting people with a variety of majors meant having the most interesting and eye-opening conversations, as well as collaborating to put on the best possible events or campaigns using all of our skills combined. As I progressed at the station, I became lucky enough to take the position of Production Director and manage the entire production team. This has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve been able to gain knowledge and experience that will be integral to my future career, and I can honestly say that I’ve found my true calling through this internship. Aside from my personal ties to the radio, it’s just such an eclectic and genuinely fun community of people. The commitment of the station to stay away from mainstream music and media creates such a unique space with so many opportunities to discover new things. The radio has honestly shaped my college experience and I will be forever grateful for my time there.

The Balancing act

So, it’s clear that these four aspects of my college life are vastly different. Each has its own responsibilities and demands, and each is incredibly important in my college journey. So, how did I manage all four? I will be very honest here. It was incredibly difficult. I was talking to a friend last summer about all four of these communities I’d be a part of this year and they asked if I’d put too much on my plate. I told them very confidently that, no I did not. I did. However, as difficult as it has been balancing everything (and I have dropped the ball on more than one occasion, and am so grateful that each of these communities has extremely kind, supportive people), I wouldn’t have had it any other way. By giving myself some grace and communicating openly with the people around me, I’ve been able to catch up on the things I’ve let fall to the wayside, and when I am more on top of everything, all I do is make sure I have it all written down so I know exactly what needs to be done and by when. It feels like a lot, but it’s just about organizing yourself in whatever way works best for you. Additionally, it’s about making sure you know when you’re getting too overwhelmed and allowing yourself to take a step back.

So, my advice to you. Do as many different things as you possibly can. Overflow your plate just a little, because it is so so worth it in the end. I graduate in just about a week and as absolutely hectic, crazy, intense, and insane this year has been, I have learned so much, made so many memories and friends, and will be leaving Chico State a different person than when I started here. Different, and happier, in every sense of the word.

Nadia Dizard

Cal State Chico '24

Nadia is a writer, reader, film analyzer, radio host, and all-around media enthusiast. She is currently finishing her degree in Media Arts Production at California State University, Chico. For the last 3 years, she has been a documentary intern with the Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology and has worked as an assistant at the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology on Chico State's campus. It is these experiences that have created for her, a deep passion for cultural and communal storytelling. She enjoys deep conversations about the media's use of stories to impact our social world and often explores this within her writing. In her free time, she loves early morning walks, hot tea, reading any book she can find, discovering new music, and spending time with her family and friends.