PCC student Christiana LeMasters’ life consisted of constantly reacclimating herself to a new environment. While growing up with a creative side and specific knack for dance, LeMasters also discovered that she has a strong interest in society’s influence.
After a break from academic studies at Azusa Pacific University (APU), 25 year old LeMasters joined Pasadena City College (PCC) for her second semester, this time as a full time student to study sociology. From traveling most of her life and settling down with her family in numerous places, LeMasters knows that Los Angeles is where her heart will remain.
“I think LA is my forever place, but I’ll probably have to leave it and come back at some point,” LeMasters said.
LeMasters was never a native to Southern California until about the age of 16. She was born in Michigan and lived there for two weeks until her family packed up their bags and moved to Okinawa, Japan and stayed there for four years.
“[That is] probably the longest I’ve lived anywhere,” LeMasters added.
Traveling was a major part of her life because her father was a pilot in the air force. Upon growing up as an “air force brat” she gained a sense of pride from it. Her family always made it a fun experience rather than a scary or challenging one. This had a positive impact as far as shaping her into the person she is.
From Okinawa, the LeMasters family traveled across the U.S. Washington state was her favorite place to live because she met some of her favorite people there. This was a highlight for her as an introvert.
“Those were super formative years, like starting middle school and starting high school,” she said.
After Washington came Virginia, then California. LeMasters was in high school by then and just starting off her junior year. She made the decision not to pack her bags with her family at that time. She stayed alone in Carmel with a friend until she finished up her senior year.
Her next chapter was APU where she studied global studies. This included a semester called “LA Term” which meant studying urban planning and urban issues in Los Angeles. She stayed with a host family in Boyle Heights during this semester.
Upon returning to APU, the administration had changed, which lead her to change her major to sociology. Sociology classes were always her favorite classes she had taken, so it made more sense to her.
Three classes away from graduating, LeMasters left APU due to its unwelcoming nature. She has always been a naturally spiritual person and feels like the world and reality cannot be separated from its greater meaning.
“I think that religion started off with great intentions, but as soon as you institutionalize anything it tends to become corrupted,” LeMasters said.
This influenced her decisions with APU and her religious views currently. Though she grew up in a Christian household, she wouldn’t ascribe to it anymore as her views have grown more liberal.
“I can’t get behind anything that is exclusive or isolating or claims to make a final judgement in any sense of the word,” she said.
After leaving APU, LeMasters moved around LA while being a full time nanny. She joined PCC in winter 2017, and has now decided to dedicate herself to her studies full time. She knows that she wants to work closely with something along the lines of childhood development as well as the nonprofit model. She also has a strong interest in economic empowerment, specifically directed towards women.
“My best friend and I always joke about opening a business someday where it would be like a holistic women’s health care center and we’d have doulas and midwives and we would have somebody who is a naturopath,” she said.
For now she will continue to study sociology and eventually childhood development. She also plans on taking a doula training in the future, this way she can better find a way to identify a voice for women in these programs.
“I’ll just keep on working and chugging and doing things that I love until they all connect somehow,” LeMasters said.