Brittany Best is a senior who has truly enjoyed her college career at UC Merced. Now, she has found a way to share her affection and loyalty for the university with the wider Merced community by writing a regular column for the Merced Sun-Star that highlights student life on campus.
Best has tackled a number of different subjects, including the philanthropic side of Greek life and the challenges of finding local Halloween activities for college students. Her perspective is refreshing and real.
"As long as my column is about the university or life on campus, I get to choose the topic. Really, I can write about anything I'd like," Best said.
Best is originally from Moorpark, and the self-defined "Southern California" girl plans to make her way back there after graduation. But the reasons that first enticed her to UC Merced are still as strong as they were four years ago.
"I really liked the idea of jumping in to help start something new," she said of her decision to become a Bobcat. "Not just being at a new school, but being part of starting new clubs and getting involved on campus from the beginning."
Her Sun-Star column is an extension of that involvement. Bringing attention to the university and student life, Best said, is a way to foster a sense of connection between the campus and the surrounding community.
Best is a psychology major whose passion lies in writing. The more she develops her writing skills, the more determined she becomes to develop her passion into a career. Writing has always been important in her life, but now she has set her sights on a specific goal.
"My ultimate dream is to write for National Geographic or a Travel magazine."
Being a student at a small university opened a door to a new possibility, she said, while simultaneously giving her the courage to go after it.
"The opportunity to write for the Sun-Star fell into my lap during a journalism class last semester," she said. "Mike Tharp, the editor-in-chief, came to campus as a guest lecturer, and I took a chance and approached him."
Best said Tharp encouraged her to send copies of travel journals she had written during a recent three-month internship in Kenya, and he invited her to become a columnist after reading them.
Up to that point, Best's travel journals had only been read by friends and family who jumped online to track her adventures.
"One thing that was new to me was reading my piece after someone else was done editing it. It teaches you a lot; newspaper writing is different from any other writing you do as a student."
Newspaper writing gets more exposure than undergraduate writing assignments as well.
"It feels cool to be published," Best said. "The first time I saw my name in the paper, I took a picture of it and sent it to my mom."