Student View: “Sunsets and Little Things”

Welcome to “Student See,” a new column showcasing the views, opinions, and musings of undergraduate writers at Cal. This spring, for our inaugural “Student View” essay contest, California requested present-day Cal students to answer the query: How has the pandemic changed you? Down below is just one of two runners-up. This issue’s successful essay was “The Seasons However Change” by Annabelle Lengthy, and the other runner-up was “The Electric power of ‘No’” by Camron King. For entry policies and other winners, go to the contest landing website page.

In excess of the earlier 400+ times of the lockdown, I obtain myself on the lookout up at and getting pictures of sunsets far more than I utilized to. Potentially it’s the attractiveness or the escapism. I search up and discover so a lot of issues to enjoy, like the assortment of colors and the placement of clouds and the occasional airplanes or jets that pierce the sky, leaving powering only contrails. And over these earlier 400+ times of lockdown, I’ve amassed quite the collection of sunset shots in my camera roll, a special hodgepodge of purples, lavenders, pinks, oranges, and a splash of yellows.

At first, I thought getting shots of the sunsets would be a awesome activity to look forward to at the end of the working day to pass the time throughout the original two-7 days quarantine. But before long, two weeks turned into two months, and now, two semesters.

It’s been a distinctive knowledge documenting these sunsets. Due to the fact no two photos ever look the identical, no matter of the exact angles and same exposures, I have a unique memory connected with every single a person. The a person I took on August 29, I was coming household from the grocery keep and snapped a photo. The one from October 14 was when I experienced a midterm that went terribly. And the a single I took on February 26, I experienced a genuinely excellent telephone connect with with friends I hadn’t called in a while.

It’s normally fascinating to glance at images from various factors in my existence. I never genuinely took a great deal of pics in substantial school likely simply because I was both too preoccupied or much too self-acutely aware. I generally viewed my day to day life as way too uninteresting to try to remember totally and informed myself that I’d take photos of the fun adventures that I would have in faculty. I’d have research classes out on the Glade and dangle out in San Francisco on the weekends, but in its place, people goals and suggestions of what I imagined freshman yr was going to be like speedily disappeared. I’ve felt caught in a weird limbo, my everyday living paused—too previous for childhood but not very there for the grand experience I hoped to have in college.

Rather, my freshman 12 months consisted of waking up, attending Zoom lessons, finishing assignments, and going to bed. The only highlights of my day were every time my mother asked me to operate a swift errand. A minor flavor of adventure.

I’d constantly consider the long way dwelling from the retailer, having streets I by no means understood existed. I beloved this component of surprise, of not knowing where by I was likely or exactly where I would conclusion up as a slight breeze blew previous me though listening to my favorite music. The small items, like smelling the fries from the area Chick-fil-A and listening to the marching band participate in as I drove previous my outdated high faculty, reminded me that my existence proper now is something I’m never likely to get back, and I could as properly make the most of it.

Around the previous 12 months, I acquired about slowing down and observing. There’s a little something lovely about observing mundane issues it teaches you to be comfortable with the stillness of daily lifestyle. My freshman calendar year certainly was not total of the adventures I experienced hoped for, but it helped remind me to cherish every moment I have even though at dwelling. I have appear to realize that using photos of the tiny times, particularly these sunsets, is worthwhile too.

Shreya Ramesh is a freshman from Atlanta studying bioengineering and business who hopes to use her capabilities as a researcher and as a writer to boost equitable obtain to healthcare.

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