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A Conversation with Chelsey Chen, Davis’s Wonder Woman

Sometimes, we come across a person in our lifetime who is simply fantastic at everything. We can’t be jealous of them because they’re too kind, but we can marvel at their wonderfulness. Much like a unicorn, Chelsey Chen is a rare, special creature and she happens to grace our wonderful campus. Chen is a triple major, who takes 24 units per quarter while staying involved on campus in several ways. Though she states that her sleep schedule is chaotic, she manages to make time for academics, friends, and extracurricular activities. The most wonderful thing about Chelsey is that she does it all with a full heart and a smile on her face.

Picture source: Chelsey Chen

I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with Chelsey at the library, alongside one of her little sisters from her sorority, Katie Whitman.

OL: So, first and foremost, you’re, like, extremely busy right?

CC: Yes! And this is my little, Katie, who is also really busy. 

OL: Well, Katie is just sitting in the library with us, so I feel awkward saying don’t hop in this interview, but don’t.

KW: [laughs] Ok.

OL: You know I love you, Katie. ANYWHO, what are some activities that you are involved in? By some, I mean all.

CC: Aside from school, I am involved in Greek Life (Tri Delta), I’m a Fraternity Sweetheart (The Rose Queen of Pi Kappa Phi), I’m involved in a club on campus called “Startup at Davis” (they basically contact different startups in Silicon Valley so that we can invite guest speakers in order to spark entrepreneurial ideas), and I’m studying to obtain my CPA license. Since Davis doesn’t have classes for that, I take outside classes. 

OL: This is in addition to Chelsey’s 24-unit schedule where she is completing a triple major in three years. Her majors are International Relations, Economics, and French. 

CC: Wow! You’re the first person to get [all three majors] right. 

OL: Well, I try to study my interviewees before I go into this.

KW: [laughs]

OL: Katie, hush. So, Chelsey, what would you say the biggest challenge is in trying to do all of these things at once?

CC: It’s definitely about prioritizing and making sacrifices. There are times when I would want to spend more time with friends or something but I can’t because I have an exam coming out or another responsibility. If I do go out, I know that I might sleep through a class. But it’s all about balance. Everyone has 24 hours and you can’t fit everything in, but I try to make the best of this.

OL: What would you say makes it all worth it? You know, like, having so many things on your plate?

CC: In the end, while obviously there are times when I question why I feel the need to take up more than I can handle, at the end of the day I genuinely do enjoy what I’m learning. My family and friends have often asked how my 3 degrees will go into my career, but what I tell them is that I’m not doing it to impress anyone and I’m not doing it to stand out, I’m doing it for myself because, originally, I didn’t come into college hoping to triple major; it just kind of worked out because I was taking classes that I was interested in. I also like to challenge myself and keep myself busy.

OL: What’s your biggest dream, currently?

CC: I think, for me, the most important thing has always been my family and I want to, someday in the future, not only take care of my parents but my own family. I want to provide stability and a good life for them, so I keep that kind of bigger goal in mind and set smaller goals along the way to be flexible. As long as I have this big picture in mind, it keeps me motivated to work hard. But right now, I just want a nap and fries.

OL: Retweet on both accounts, Chelsey. You’re like Wonder Woman. 

KW: Retweet.

OL: No one asked you, Katie.

Photo: Chelsey and Katie during recruitment for Tri Delta.

*No Katie Whitmans were harmed in the making of this article. 

Last named pronounced like "zucchini," a common summertime squash. University of California, Davis. English major and literature fiend. Proud member of Delta Delta Delta. Theatre kid. Standup comedienne.
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