In a quest to familiarize our readership with the editorial staff, each editor reflected on their individual experience at the University of Redlands and how it has defined them.
As a tour guide for the University, I regularly walk through campus and boast all of the parts of the good ol’ UoR that I fell in love with and how my experience has been defined. As I go through the tour, different spots on campus remind me of my time here- in both positive and negative ways. But I wouldn’t change a second of it.
At the end of the tour, I give my narrative of why I continually chose Redlands. Because I believe that we all make a conscious choice to attend this university out of the hundreds of small liberal arts schools. I tell them about how when I came to tour Redlands, it was my first time ever being in California and it poured rain. As we drove through campus, oranges were bobbing in the flooded gutters. But nonetheless, I could feel the warmth of the community and felt at home. I liked that people were friendly and waved at each other — I still do. I tell them about how academically challenged I am here, and I never thought I was capable of making such complex, integrative connections. It is incredible how much of an impact my professors have made on me. It is rare that a student will go abroad three times during college like me. I tell them that I never thought I would fall in love with desert.
Coming from Washington state, it is absurd that I live in a place where oranges grow and there are fault lines are charged with tectonic activity a little too close for comfort. I am always amazed by the desert climate, as we are located next to the only transverse mountain range, meaning that the mountains are oriented West to East, in North America.
I have always lived amongst mountains. At my childhood home, I was nestled into the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. Now, I love to watch the San Bernardino Mountains change colors throughout the day from a golden brown to pink at sunset. As a constant, they keep me grounded during my time here. I have been at the University for three years, and I like to think I am slowly changing like the mountains being etched by the tectonic forces. I have focused much of my education on the environmental sciences, heavily focusing on lithospheric processes. Something I think I have learned from studying the natural earth is that its steadfast, but ever changing all at once.
If I look back to who I was when I first came to Redlands, I see a dramatically different person, but I am the same at my core. I was incredibly insecure and terrified that I wouldn’t find my niche. I am still insecure, but know my places and am not afraid to be alone. I know my places on campus and have developed a sincere passion for academic thought, which has been fueled by my curiosity and drive through the Johnston program. There is really nothing I love more than reading about complex issues; I would do anything to listen to my favorite professors lecture.
Walking down into Lewis Hall courtyard always makes me slow down and appreciate my education, watching the lizards skiddle around between the native plants with hummingbirds whizzing by. It makes sense to learn about the environment in a LEED building that feels so open and airy. On the other side of my focus, I developed an unexpected and intense fascination with constitutional law. Studying law has taught me that I crave consistency and structure. I love the two and seeing where they feed into each other, yet at times I feel like that in the real world I will have to make a choice between deep scientific processes and law.
As a senior, I love walking around this scenic campus. It is the beginning of the end of my college experience, and I can feel the time dwindling. Sometimes with friends or in class it is hard to be present because I feel nostalgic for the time passing. On the other side, sometimes my days here feels rudimentary and repetitive, and I await entering the outside world. But instead, I need to take a deep breath of smog and look at my environment around me. Be reminded that this time is present and the same and still changing.
Photo contributed by Redlands Bulldog photographer Kevin Reyes