WELCOME HOME! If you are a returning student or this is your first year at Cal, we welcome you with open arms! My name is Sarah Barger, and three years ago I was a freshman arriving on campus for the first time. My family dropped me off, we checked in, moved all of my belongings, my mom cried, and they drove the four hours home that I would only be able to take on breaks and holidays. It was an exciting and scary feeling. I was looking forward to making new friends, joining clubs, meeting my professors and learning more about my major and what I want to do for the rest of my life. Everything else was up in the air.
When you are new to a campus with thousands of your peers and don’t know anyone and no one knows you, the opportunities are endless. This can be positive or negative. I knew it was up to me to decide where I got involved and start planting my roots. I thought about the things that were a part of my life and important to me as a freshman: my love for my major, my music, my energy and willingness to meet new people, and my faith.
I am a Gerontology Major and discovered that Cal U has a club for that. I joined, and in my senior year I am now President of the club and recruiting freshmen who were just like me. I play guitar and sing, so I wanted a chance to perform and meet other musicians. I found SABUG which is Student Activities board and Underground Café and became Vice-President on the Underground executive board my sophomore year and continue to play every open mic night on Thursdays. I also attended Student Activities Board events and helped with many programs that gave me a chance to meet some of my closest friends and one of my best friends. I was very involved in my youth group and church at home; I didn’t want to lose that in college. I was a worship leader and that led me on a path to New Life Christian Fellowship. This year I am President of this campus ministry and am so proud to be a part of our family. We have community projects, social events, Bible studies, prayer walking, retreats and mission trips that have changed my life and brought me closer to God and to those around me. I have grown and experienced many things these past four years. I am thankful for the friends and connections that I have made and that would not have been a possibility if I didn’t take the first steps and searched for what was important to me.
As you are choosing your path, I encourage you to get out there, open up, be honest with yourself, and find people and leaders who can hold you accountable, support you, reassure you and help you grow as an individual. Be the best person you can be. College is one of the best times in our lives, so make the most of it and take advantage of the many opportunities that are offered by getting involved.