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Graduation 2023: The big see ya later

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As students finish up final essays and exams, some are completing the very last assignments of their undergraduate careers. Is this scary? Probably. But will they make it through? Absolutely.

Here at the Daily Cal, we have had the immense privilege to uplift the creative minds of our graduating class. These staffers have put in endless work behind the scenes to bring insight, integrity and inspiration to the paper and our community. They are the immaculate illustrators, the dedicated reporters and the brave leaders who chase the horizon before them. 

But you probably also know them as your roommates, your friends and maybe even your family. There’s no denying how important each and every one of them is, which is why we’ve dedicated this issue to their stories.

Now, with great pride, we get to be the audience to their last hurrahs — and the future has never looked brighter. 

With caps and gowns ready, our graduates prepare for what’s to come by taking one more look at where they’ve come from. So here’s to them: our stars of the show.



Mug of Kat Shok.

Commitment to me has always meant offering up all of my energy and emotion and everything to fulfill expectations and make everyone as happy as possible. Nowhere was there space for my own happiness, my own interests, my own life.

— Kat Shok

Faces, old and new

Mug of Aditya Katewa


It might take a second, but I promise you that every laugh we’ve shared, every joke you’ve told me and every memory we’ve made is stashed away somewhere in my brain.

— Aditya Katewa

The making of Defne (in progress)


Mug of Defne Karabatur.

Life is, at its core, the process of you making yourself. So college, a four-year rung on this ladder, is only a small step forward.

— Defne Karabatur

Right on time


Mug of Mela Seyoum.

I’m always 10 minutes late —

Silently, squeezing in between seats,

waiting at the counter, 

or sighing in between sprints.

— Mela Seyoum

Letting go, holding on


Mug of Jocelyn Huang.

In 2020, as I copy edited the graduating class’s goodbyes and thank-you’s, 2023 felt light-years away. I was just starting my journey at the Daily Cal, only a few words into my grad column tagline. Now, as I sign off on this column, tagline complete, I can say the journey was worth every bit.

— Jocelyn Huang

Out with a lantern, searching for myself


Mug of Ananya Thyagarajan.

Now, as a senior, my bittersweet reflection on the past four years has reminded me, yet again, how lucky I am that my life has led here, in part by years of dedication and hard work, in part by sheer dumb luck.

— Ananya Thyagarajan

Putting my puzzle pieces together


Mug of Maria Young.

When I look back at my college experience, it’s the smaller activities I remember. I was enjoying talking with my friends; making a sweater on the Glade; baking a cake with my roommate for no other reason than I wanted to eat some cake. I was enjoying my life.

— Maria Young

Slice of life

Mug of Sarah Runyan.

I never expected to care about the details of the life I built at UC Berkeley, but in my final weeks here, I relish in the attributes of my experience that I once disregarded. Though my time in Berkeley is certainly defined by monumental moments that have changed the trajectory of my life, I have found the most happiness in the ordinary things.

— Sarah Runyan

Making it to the other side


Maria Kholdova mug

My issues are my own, and I am very sparing in who I let in. But I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without reflecting on the past four years and the incredible people who got me here.

— Maria Kholodova

In defense of the small fish/In defense of the big pond


Photo of Merve Ozedmir

Maybe I would be happier somewhere else, maybe I wouldn’t be. Maybe being happy isn’t the ultimate goal. All I know is that these last four years have been a whirlwind, and I am eternally grateful that I got to experience them.

— Merve Ozdemir

On friendship: When reach becomes grasp


Photo of Maya Thompson

People say college offers your first taste of independence — the hallmark of modern adulthood — but as a graduating senior, I’ve never felt more interdependent.

— Maya Thompson

On time in 9 days


Mug of Bryan Hernandez Benitez.

I’m not entirely sure what the next eight days will look like, but I’m sure I’ll find a way to make the most of it.

— Bryan Hernandez Benitez

In Foothill dining


Mug of Aishwarya Jayadeep.

As we wrapped up, gathering plates and shrugging on backpacks and laughing, a thought flickered through my head. My friend beat me to saying it then. But I’ll repeat her words now: I liked this a lot. I’m really glad you decided to come to Berkeley.

— Aishwarya Jayadeep 

Nacho average college experience


Mug of Beatrice Aronson.

Nachos were first introduced to me in my junior year. Coming back from a year and a half of online classes, this was the year when I felt that I had found my sense of place and purpose in our large campus community.

— Beatrice Aronson

Choices, choices


Mug of Zainab Adam.

I realized my college experience didn’t have to be this epic story to tell as years pass. The choices, the leaps of faith and the small things were enough.

— Zainab Adam

Four years of rabbit holes


Mug of Amrita Bhasin.

One of the most valuable things that being at Berkeley has instilled in me is that I don’t have to be good at something to enjoy doing it. I have taken that in so many different directions and have learned that anything worth doing is worth doing part way versus not doing it at all. This has enabled me to embark on so many spontaneous adventures and take risks on myself and my dreams.

— Amrita Bhasin


Meet me in Frisco


Mug of Sofia Sar.

I’ll miss the people I met and the people I’ll never get to meet. I’ll miss the routine of classes and the familiarity of campus. However, Nicholas taught me that life is not meant to be stagnant. He showed me there is excitement in uncertainty and change, and I think that’s why the future doesn’t scare me.

— Sofia Sar

My final LinkedIn update

Mug of Dina Katgara.

Today and always, I raise a glass to the next million years of avoiding stepping on the campus seals and waiting an hour to get into Raleigh’s Pub on taco Tuesdays just to end up at Kip’s Bar and Grill awkwardly dancing and trying to breathe through the aggressive smoke machine.

— Dina Katgara

Changing faces

Mug of Seb Cahill.

SHEP plans to celebrate with a week of tabling events on Sproul from Feb. 13 to Feb. 17, exploring subjects like non-penetrative sex, masturbation and the benefits of using lube.

— Sebastian Cahill

One last run


Photo of Luke Stiles

When I can’t order my ideas, when they’re bumbling around like the balls in a wire bingo tumbler, I pull on my shoes and go for a run.

— Luke Stiles

Contact Aditya Katewa at  or on Twitter


MAY 14, 2023