Alexandra Greenspan

The Hustle of the Golden Bear

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a student. I don’t know of a time before I didn’t fill out forms with my occupation as “Student” or use the denomination to get discounts at movie theaters. Show my student ID for lower museum rates. I just am a student.

Except now, I’m not.

Now, I’m a graduate of UC Berkeley. I’m a person who’s going to be taking on a full time job that doesn’t come with grades (though apparently there’s this thing called an employee review?). Yet I pledge that though I cannot call myself a student in the obvious sense, I will always keep learning. Always keep pushing myself. Such is the nature of a Cal grad.

Because we’re hustlers. We don’t live passively in the world.

At Cal, students learn that to get things done is to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps, whether that means being in charge of their own lives or making changes for the campus as a whole. When students really get involved and are allowed to lead things on campus, big things are accomplished. I’m talking newspapers, hacker and maker spaces, IT services, housing communities, conferences, classes, thousand-person hackathons, and more. Many more. Endeavors that I don’t even know are initiated by students.

We students learn to bypass the bureaucracy of campus politics and just do things, such as raise our own funding for events or create our own classes to accommodate students’ interests. We hustle to make things happen. We don’t wait around, because we know then nothing would get done. When we want something but it doesn’t exist, we make it exist.

By my view, hustling and learning go hand-in-hand. At my cognitive science commencement ceremony (which was actually part of Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies), the student speaker noted, “All of life’s most important experiences start out with being profoundly uncomfortable.”

To take the first step in learning is allowing yourself to be exposed to something new. To allow yourself to fail in order to eventually succeed. And then comes the hustle, the fire to spread knowledge, to use knowledge, to challenge the can’t with the can and will.

That’s a Cal student. That’s a Cal grad. That’s a Golden Bear.

So I repeat myself: I’m scared to not be a student anymore. But I embrace it. And I aim to make my fellow hustlin’ Golden Bears proud.