Bara Mudita, Film and Digital Media and Sociology double major

November 05, 2021

Choosing a Major

In terms of Film and Digital Media, I have always been interested in film, and particularly how film can be used to empower people. I think that representation in media is so important to the identities of historically marginalized communities. Growing up watching predominantly Western Hollywood films, I never really felt represented. My ultimate goal is to help change that, to help bring more diversity into the film industry both in terms of the people working on the films, and the stories that are told. Representation in media has the capacity to inspire so many people and tell them that they can do it too, that film and media is a career path that they can take. 

For sociology, I think that understanding society and the reasons why things are the way they are in the social world is really important. I have always been interested in social issues such as education inequity, healthcare inequity, and class struggles, which are issues that can help be understood by sociology, in hopes of finding solutions to them. 

Why UCSC?

There were a few things that stood out to me about UCSC. The campus and campus culture played a major role in my choice. The landscape of the campus, especially the Redwood trees, seemed a lot more beautiful and interesting than a lot of other college campuses that I had seen. The campus culture, being more relaxed and down-to-earth, was very appealing to me as I came from a small high school where community was heavily emphasized.

Aside from the campus and campus culture, I also took into account the academic side of UCSC. Through my research, I found that UCSC’s sociology and film programs ranked highly both within California and nationally. On the film side of things, I saw that there are some notable alumni who have made a name for themselves in the film industry such as Maya Rudolph (former cast member on Saturday Night Live) and Cary Joji Fukunaga (the director of No Time to Die). For sociology, I looked into the professors and I found their research to be interesting and often in line with what I want to be doing in the future. UCSC students’ history with social change and activism was definitely also intriguing to me.

Adjusting to life at UCSC

Admittedly, adjusting to life at a UCSC was a little challenging at first. The biggest thing was adjusting to my new status as a minority. As an Indonesian who grew up in Indonesia, I was always surrounded by people who look like me, who speak my language, who come from the same (or at least similar) cultural background as me. Coming to the US, I quickly realized that although there are a lot of Asians in California, we are still a minority group. Finding ways to fit in despite growing up in a vastly different background than some of my American peers was initially difficult, but once I was able to find mutual interests I found things to go more smoothly. 

Global Mentorship Program

My experience in the global mentorship program has been really great so far! I have learned so much from my peers, as well as the mentees that I have met. It has helped me become a more confident student as it gave me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills and showed me that I am able to help facilitate events. I never thought that I would really be able to facilitate events and lead discussions between students until I joined the program. Helping out with international student orientation in particular really helped me both in terms of my team working skills, as well as my leadership skills. Being a mentor made me realize that I know a lot more than I initially thought, and it’s shown me how much I have grown since my first year here. 

Meaningful Programs/Events

An experience that stands out to me recently was when I helped out with Follow-on Orientation. I got to listen in and participate a little during the International and Other Identities session, and I found a lot of what was being said to be really helpful, especially for international first-year students. I feel like the Global Programming team really brought up topics and struggles that could help international first-year students feel understood. They also gave some useful tips to help adjust to life in UCSC, to which I remember thinking I wish I had known some of those tips during my first year. I was also able to share some of my own experiences with adjusting to life in the US, and I hope that my own tips and experiences are able to help the first-year international students who attended.