Divita Pandita

Class of 2021

Why did you decide to apply to UCB? 

I never had a dream college that my heart was set on; from the very beginning, I just told myself I would go wherever I got accepted. However, that nonchalant attitude of mine immediately washed away the moment I placed within the Top 4 of a huge Speech and Debate Invitational at UC Berkeley during my senior year. Now, this university was no longer another checkbox on my list, it was the home of the revered Sather Gate that I walked under right before my final round, it was the place where I had boba for the first time on Bancroft, and it became the environment where I thought to myself for the first time, “Huh, this is where my life is really going to change”. I may not have had a specific reason for applying, but as a senior excited to graduate from UC Berkeley, I can definitely tell you why I stayed.

Why did you pursue MCB as your major? 

Healthcare is one of the few professions that is both figuratively and literally at the core of every aspect of life. However, within the U.S., there has been a clear trend of the manipulation of access to healthcare as a means of political, social, and cultural oppression of minority communities. As a student and activist, I take extreme issue with this, and thus decided to pursue a MCB degree in order to have biological understanding to support me in my efforts to make sustainable, credible social change regarding healthcare. I want to use my MCB degree to become a capable physician that works to improve health outcomes for all demographics!

What is one piece of advice you would offer a first-year student or wish you knew yourself? 

Be shameless. At a university as large as UC Berkeley, there is no room to dawdle on, or even overthink about the processes of rejection and failure. Do not waste time putting yourself down over such issues; they happen to everyone, and I would even argue that rejection and failure are critical to your personal growth as a student. Take each setback, each missed grade, each discontinued email as a learning opportunity, and then wipe the disappointment away from your mind. Despite rejection and failure, continue to smile shamelessly at everyone again and just keep on getting better and better with each experience.

What is a sentiment that keeps you motivated, or a life motto? 

“Complacency and convenience were never ones to stimulate another’s growth”. This has become my mantra over the past four years at UC Berkeley, especially within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a student, there are so many things that are out of my control, and I am constantly reminded of my own limitations. While this was discouraging to me in the past, I now take this fact in stride as I realize that without the countless challenges I have faced in life, I would not have grown into half the person I am today. And that’s saying something because I'm really happy with the way I turned out. :D