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When my mom said McDonald’s was unhealthy, I believed her. When she said that I’m just as worthy of any job as any man is, I believed her. And when my mom told me that Yearbook was going to be a good fit for me in high school, I also believed her. A majority of my major life decisions have been shaped and guided by my mother’s loving hand and wisdom. She made my life easy. I never felt the need to divert from the choices she made for me, but that wasn’t the entire truth about why I was complacent with my mom making decisions for me was complacent with her actions. I might blame my Libra sun for the fact that I do not enjoy making decisions, but there it is. I hate making decisions. Any decision that someone else makes for me is welcomed, whether it’s food, what to watch on Netflix, or what color shoes I should wear.


Even the decision to attend UCSC derived from my mother. While I had expressed the initial interest in UCSC, she was the one who set up my first campus tour back in my junior year of high school.When I received my decisions back from the schools I applied for, she was the one that advised I attend UCSC. This was the first decision my mother made for me that I didn’t wholly agree with. I was scared of leaving my hometown, to a school where I didn’t know anyone else, where I would be completely isolated from everything that made me feel safe. Moreover, at UCSC, I would be confronted with the thing I dreaded most: making decisions.


In the beginning, it was rough. I had tentatively decided I wanted to go the Pre-Med route, so I registered for classes that went along that. Still, I ended up taking two additional general education classes that didn’t count towards my major. After that quarter, I ended up switching my major to undeclared. Without my mother’s guidance, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my future, but I was determined to figure it out. I was a college student, and I was embarrassed and deeply ashamed that beyond my mother’s decision making, I really had no personality, I had no idea who I was.


During my second quarter, while I was undeclared, I took classes that interested me. I hoped that they would help me grow as a student and person, and would give me the opportunity to think critically about my future, and what I wanted for myself. I ended up enjoying a history class I took and began researching UCSC’s history major requirements and what I could end up doing with that major. By the next quarter, not only had I decided that I wanted to major in history, but I also decided that I wanted to go to law school and become an attorney. This was the first major decision I had made on my own but it would not be the last. 


By my third quarter at UCSC, I was solidifying my identity and actively pursuing the college experience that I desired. My decisions were entirely my own, and by pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I found a job I enjoyed. I joined an organization that I was passionate about, and I had made friends who shared similar ideas about the world. 


While none of this was possible without my mom pushing me to attend UCSC, the actions and decisions I took while living on campus were entirely my own, and as a result, I found my individuality, I found myself. I discovered that I am passionate about the social constructs of our world and its politics. I found my passion for history and how history still affects our lives. I’m currently a Resident Assistant for my college, and I love being in this leadership role and being a role model for my residents to look up to. 


Overall, I became a multi-faceted human being with my own opinions, something that I was not before coming to UCSC.


Consider me as your local Resident Assistant for a moment, because I have some things to tell you. You are capable of making decisions that will lead to your ideal future. You will make mistakes, that are a given, but you will never really fail until you give up. Life is messy, and things don’t go as planned nearly as often as you think, but truly, if I can do it, so can you. 


You are really all you need.

My name is Ashti (she/her), I am currently an undergraduate History of Asia and the Pacific major with an Education minor at UCSC.
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