When people think of Oakland, they think of a city with a never ending plague of violence. Living in Oakland, I learned that it was much more than that. Although some people weigh the bad over the good, Oakland also has a beautiful, rich culture lurking in every different corner, and people full of life, hope, and fight. Going to school at Mills College has helped me learn more about myself, the place I’ve lived my entire life (the Bay Area), and the world in whole.

At the beginning of the year, every student living on campus received a Clipper card for use on AC Transit an unlimited number of times. Mills does this to encourage students to leave campus and learn more about the area they’re in, and really take in the cultural diversity and activities that are dispersed around the Bay Area. I remember I use to be very hesitant to take the bus, but after getting use to a certain route, I grew more comfortable. The bus was a great resource to learn more about the community because they went around the different parts of Oakland that I’ve never seen before. Interacting with the people here also made me realize that it’s silly to condemn an entire city when most of its parts included good food, good culture, and good people. These people were no longer willing to sit in the shadows and were now ready to fight for the glory of their city, and the safety of their friends and family. As a volunteer at Highland Hospital, I’ve also learned more about the people in this community. Highland hospital was basically a safety net for the shortcomings of the governments’ health reform laws, and provided for people beyond what they could sometimes provide. I chose to volunteer at this specific hospital because I truly believed in what they were doing, which was aiding people of all ages, races, and backgrounds regardless of whether or not they had the means of pay.

Of incredibly large amount of things I’ve learned and picked-up, I’ve got to say that the most important to me was that I’ve learned to budget my time more graciously, and I’ve become a more compassionate, free-willed, and free-thinking person. Although it may seem stereotypical for me to feel this way because I’m going to a woman’s college, I’ve developed into a feminist. Mills has taught me to open my eyes in the directions I’ve been scared to look at, and really think about what everything means for everyone. Mills has taught me to think.