Shadownite Weekend at UC Berkeley

Devin Dinh, Staff Writer

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“Go Bears!,” as the students say on campus when times are in need like when you’re up until 3 am finishing an assignment or when you have your L.A. rivals come down to Berkeley. I recently took a weekend stay at UC Berkeley at Shadownite. Shadownite is an overnight experience geared to those who are Asian American/Pacific Islander created by REACH!, a dedicated center geared to helping those of Asian American/Pacific Islander heritage.

As I got into a van filled with other students, all the way from Sacramento, to nearby Hercules, we destined for UC Berkeley on a two night, three day journey. Nobody knew each other; everyone was new to this idea of going to UC Berkeley doing something they never thought of doing before. This 3-day weekend at UC Berkeley was about to begin without any heck of what I was going to do, being the only one from Pinole Valley High School–I had to represent the school and show what I meant.

During the Shadownite weekend, I got to learn new things such as my Asian American heritage/background, the experiences that students from UCBerkeley had, how to relax, mentally, and what to do after high school – as there are many pathways other than entering a four-year university such as going to trade school or joining the U.S. Army. Even though I have been to the UC Berkeley campus many times before just to visit or to take summer programs on campus, I learned more than what I knew such as the hidden gems and how it feels to be a student just for a day.

“By the end of the trip, I met strangers from all around California, introduced to various backgrounds, and attended several educational/interactive workshops. I got a tour of UC Berkeley, the first college tour I have been on. I got a taste of independence, something I have always dreamed of attaining. I got forced me out of the bubble I fervently created over the years and pushed myself to make new friends. I got an experience I will never forget and memories that will last a lifetime. In just three days time, I opened myself up to strangers and cried more than I ever had in front of those I have known for years. I applied to ShadowNite with the intention of learning more about higher education, but I gained much more than just knowledge in the end.” said My Pham, a senior from Milpitas High School.

I had to grow out of my comfort zone in order to succeed through this weekend. You had to learn how to communicate in order to get somewhere during this weekend, a tip that I could use throughout my life – a skill that you needed to be able to live in the real world. It was also nice to meet other people just like me, even for just a fraction of my life where we each had similar experiences and used it in place to show each other, our own interpretation of the world we live in.

Going to Shadownite weekend, was most likely one of the best experiences that I had in my high school career where I had to grow out of my comfort zone and experience things like no other. It was really comforting to know that someone like me was out there somewhere, distant or close, brought together at UC Berkeley during this one weekend.