“Salutations! My name is Janet Hsiao, and I’m a graduating senior from Hacienda Heights, California. What do I love most about Cal Band? Free music, free travel, and free friends!
This year, Cal Band was instrumental in one of the most exciting projects I completed at Cal. My major, Environmental Sciences, requires everyone to conduct independent research; I wrote my thesis proposal to examine the aquatic ecology of a stream that is impacted by recycled water. Without considering much of the project feasibility, I did field work and collected way too many insect samples than it is reasonable for anyone to process alone. After living in lab full-time for a summer, I finally decided to seek help from my network of friends. One message out to the Cal Band mailing list got me a good dozen responses. I was overwhelmed by how enthusiastic all the volunteers were, and am even more impressed by how open-minded the folks that came through were about learning new laboratory techniques. Over the course of this past year, I collected enough data (over 13,000 bugs!) for a comprehensive study with spatial and temporal analytical components. Two weeks from now, I will be presenting my research at the Society for Freshwater Science (http://www.freshwater-science.org/) conference in Florida, in the context of how we can manage urban water infrastructure without jeopardizing the integrity of ecosystem. This is an exciting opportunity that would not have been possible without all the cool kids that shared with me their time, sweat, and wonderful company.
A wise friend (also from Band) once said, ‘It’s not about what you want to do for the rest of your life, but what you want to do next.’ So what’s next? At the end of this month, I will be embarking on a journey to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail. The walk from Mexico to Canada is a part of my life-long goal to backpack the Triple Crown. At a basketball SHB, I mentioned my plan to a band alumna and was quickly directed to be in contact with another alum, who is an experienced long-distance backpacker. He provided a wealth of information and help planned my successful shakedown trip crossing the Mojave Desert during spring break.
Words cannot express how amazed I am by all the incredibly talented people I’m connected with via Cal Band. I’m the first patron of Winni’s future hair salon (Wang’s Bangs). Ben taught me how to play the euphonium (bearitones rule). My graduation portraits were taken by Abhas’ Photography. Katie has been my go-to person whenever I need editorial feedback (i.e., this entry). The list goes on. If you’re a prospective recruit, you know you want to be in this circle.
I have no idea what the next month will bring or where I will be in the coming years, but I’ll be ok! Someone will take me in if I end up living in a box, right? Artichokes forever.” ~ Janet Hsiao