Features_Ashley_Grace Sun / The Highlander
Features_Ashley_Grace Sun / The Highlander

From joining the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) to joining a sorority, I was determined to have the best college experience. As a first year student, I was very eager to join every on-campus organization UCR has to offer. The pandemic had affected my first year experience since classes were held remotely and everyone was back home. Being at home led me to believe that I had to make as many friends as I possibly could online so I had people to hang out with when we were back in person.

Towards the end of my first year, I still felt incomplete. I had joined all these amazing organizations on campus but I still didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I was scrolling through Instagram one day when my sorority sister had posted The Highlander’s hiring post on her story. At first, I was unsure whether to apply or not. It had been a while since I had written anything for fun besides English essays. After much contemplation, I submitted my application.

It only went uphill from there. I had received an offer to be the Features Editor even though I had applied for the assistant Features Editor. I never had a leadership role this big before so it was nerve wracking, especially since this was a paid position. However, after meeting the team, I knew that we were all going to work really well together. Once we could attend school in-person again, we would have weekly hangouts at the office and get boba after writers’ meeting. During production on Sundays, all the editors and assistant editors would huddle up in the Features/Opinion’s office room and talk for hours about our week. The Highlander eventually became a safe place for all of us. 

Submitting my application was one of the best decisions I could have made throughout my three years at UCR. I’ve met so many influential people at The Highlander that I will forever look up too. From past and current section editors to staff writers to interviewees, I have learned so much through these amazing people I’ve encountered in the past two years as Features editor. Many of these figures that I’ve come across have shaped me into the person I am today. As I work towards completing my last year at UCR, I am so thankful for what The Highlander has provided for me and my fellow staff members. Even though my time here is coming to an end, The Highlander will always be my home. Thank you, The Highlander, for shaping my three years at UCR and making my college experience so fruitful and complete!