As graduation nears, student creates a ‘time capsule’ of her Berkeley experience

May 7, 2024

This first-person narrative was written from an interview with Daniella Lake, who will graduate this May with a degree in media studies.

I was born in Los Angeles. I’m the first person in my family who was born in the U.S. My family’s originally from Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa. My parents spent a lot of time moving during the 1990s because there was a civil war in Sierra Leone and my dad worked for the United Nations, so my brother and sister spent time growing up in other African countries — Eritrea, Ghana and Gambia. I had a very different childhood experience. 

When I was 9 or 10, I started doing a lot of public speaking in Catholic school and in my own church, a Methodist church. At school, we’d have mass on Fridays, and at my own church, a service on Sunday. At both, I would read scripture, or during Black History Month, I would give a speech or read poetry by Black poets.

That’s when I really fell in love with the spoken word.

At 15, I picked up podcasting because I love storytelling. My podcast is called Life Told By A Stranger. I’ve produced three seasons of it, but took a break from it when I got to UC Berkeley. One of my favorite questions to ask is, “If you were to write an autobiography, what is one story you’d have to include?” It’s really cool to hear what story my guests choose because it shows how they define themselves. It’s a key part of who they are.

Berkeley News