Parent to Parent: Interview with an Aggie

Bikes in sunlight

By Sylvia Pardini

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

~Melody Beattie

For our November issue of In the Know, parent council member Sylvia Pardini decided to talk to her Aggie Dillon (NPB ‘20) about gratitude. Read her in-depth one-on-one conversation with her son.

Mom:     As we approach Thanksgiving, what are you grateful for?

Dillon:    I’m grateful that I am blessed with the opportunity to attend a world class university.

M:           Can you elaborate a bit?

D:            I am just thankful that I can attend a great school, while so many others aren’t able to, for various reasons, whether it’s socioeconomic status, family obligations….

M:           Thanks for reflecting. What’s the best thing that happened today so far?

D:            Receiving my midterm grades back was a huge motivator to not only work harder, but also to work smarter.

M:           I like that you are proactive, which is a good life skill to have. What are some of the challenges you face, and how to do you overcome them?

D:            I struggle every day with my classes, and trying to stay on top of them is always a challenge. I overcome the challenge by working very hard, meeting with professors and participate in study groups to fill in the gaps in my knowledge.

M:           The quarter system can be rigorous and take up a lot of your time. Being so busy, what’s something you witnessed recently that reminded you that life or people are good?

D:            Just today I witnessed a girl falling off her bike and in the process scraped up her knee, dropped her glasses, and spilled her coffee. I rushed over to check on her, but was also happy to see that multiple other people came over to help her out as well. It put a good mood on my day.

M:           In the same vein of managing a busy life on campus and taking care of yourself outside of academics, what’s something you have easy access to that always improves your mood, and how has it improved your life?

D:            I’m almost always guaranteed to get into a better mood when I hang out with my friends. I value talking with my family and really enjoy meeting new people. And of course my music. What do you like most about Davis?

M:           I like how passionate you are about the school, considering you did not want to look at UCD. I clearly remember your first reaction that it is ‘way out in the boonies’ and it ended up being your #1 choice. Going to college has taught you to step up your game as far as being more responsible and self-efficient. Not that you were not responsible before, but you had to start relying more on yourself and others outside of your family unit. It struck me especially that one time I asked you to bring home your laundry after your first semester, and you said thank you, but that was not necessary, it was your job now. I felt really appreciated at that moment.

D:            I do appreciate you. Do you feel that Davis is a good fit for not only your Aggie, but also for you as a parent?

M:           I strongly feel that UC Davis is your home away from home and that you ended up where you are meant to be. Davis does fit my personality given my background in winemaking back in Germany. The agricultural and down to earth vibe of the campus is probably my favorite aspect of the school. There is a lot of diversity across campus, whether it is the student body, the variety of majors, clubs and campus life. Lots of opportunities to grow. Favorite place on campus?

D:            I used to love going to the earth and physical sciences building for my math tutoring.

M:           Is that the place with the view?

D:            I forgot about that. That’s my secret spot (laughs). There’s a particular building I enjoy going to that has a beautiful view of the surrounding fields and mountains outside of Davis. It’s a nice place to go and watch the sun set.

M:           Favorite memory?

D:            Oh man, that’s a hard one to answer. Can’t say I can answer that. Ask me once I graduate. How about you?

M:           Many, but one really stands out. Remember that time we rode our bikes for four hours, starting on campus and heading west towards the airport and Putah Creek for your wildlife conservation assignment? That was a lot of fun.

D:            That was a lot of fun. We should do that again. What makes Davis interesting to you?

M:           Davis is interesting to me because it is such a big school, yet somehow manages to maintain a small town feel. It feels like I only know five percent  of what the school has to offer and I constantly learn new things about Davis. Having completed some of the Traditions has definitely helped with that.

D:            I see. I have some catching up to do on Traditions. How are you able to give back to the Davis community?

M:           (Laughs) You know me too well. Giving back to the schools you have attended since kindergarten has been important to me - glad you noticed! I enjoy being involved with the Parent & Family Council, because it allows me to be involved without being in your face. It’s a great group of parents and UC Davis faculty. The genuineness of the group is something I very much appreciate. The council is fairly new compared to how long the university has been around, and has accomplished quite a bit in a short amount of time. I am particularly impressed by the scholarship committee, which has worked hard to offer a scholarship to not only one deserving student, but now two students.

What’s something enjoyable you get to experience every day that you’ve come to take for granted?

D:            I think having easy access to my friends and being in the busy hustle bustle of college student life is something I’ve taken for granted, and will definitely miss once I graduate.

M:           How so?

D:            How so what?

M:           You don’t think life will be busy once you graduate?

D:            I do, but we’re all working towards the same goal and everyone is able to relate to our struggles. I love the college town vibe. It’s comfortable.

M:           Interesting comment about working towards the same goal and relatability. Can you think of any non-physical gifts you’ve received recently – someone’s time, attention, understanding, or support?

D:            Receiving the constant support, friendship, counseling and love from all the important people in my life.

M:           What choices have you made in the last five years that you’d thank yourself for making?

D:            I’d like to thank myself for becoming more comfortable and confident in my own skin, in addition to not being afraid to stand up for what I believe in. It’s done wonders for my psyche and has helped me to develop into the person I am today, and the person I am still turning into.

M:           I love to hear you reflect on life. Thanks for sharing, love you.

D:            I love you, too.