In between the daily grind of work and school, UC Merced student Stella Yu still finds time to do what she loves best - play the violin on the concert stage.
“When I’m up there, I feel like for one moment in my life, everyone is looking at me thinking, ‘she’s so elegant’ ” said Yu, 19, trying to explain the feeling of performing in front of a crowd.
“I live in that moment,” she said.
Yu has been having a lot of those moments lately as first violin for the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra.
Once a week, Yu sheds her persona as a sophomore studying biological sciences and drives to Mariposa to practice for the symphony season under the direction of Les Marsden, who happens to also be her teacher.
Marsden recruited Yu to be his top violinist after finding out that at her young age, Yu is quite a talented and accomplished musician.
“I picked it up in elementary school and have loved it ever since,” said Yu, who practices the violin every chance she gets and brings the same amount of dedication to the classroom and her other responsibilities.
Even though she has a lot on her plate including two part-time jobs, hula dancing and her responsibilities as co-founder of the Chinese Student Association, Yu counts academics as her first priority.
“If all things go through like I plan I would like to attend UCSF and Berkeley after I finish here,” she said.
Yu hopes to pursue a career as an obstetrician after noticing her own mother’s discomfort around male doctors.
“I think some women feel a little more comfortable with female doctors, so they might tend to go see their physician more often,” she said.
Whichever medical school she attends, Yu hopes to stay in the UC system because of its reputation and the experience she’s had in Merced so far.
“I’m from L.A. so it was a culture shock,” she said of her transition to the Central Valley. “But I actually really, really like it.”