Freshman tennis player Monika del Rosario already has her future mapped out. Del Rosario started creating BuzzFeed quizzes in high school and still makes them three years later.
“I had never heard of BuzzFeed until my junior year of high school,” said del Rosario, a communication studies and psychology double major.
For most of her quizzes, del Rosario focuses on pop culture, like music, TV shows, celebrities and movies.
She remembers exactly how she was introduced to the digital media site. She was bored in art class, and a friend showed her the site to solve her boredom. As del Rosario scrolled through the site, she saw articles about the book and movie series “Divergent,” but she didn’t see anything about her favorite character, Four, who is the male lead.
“I knew you could just make posts, so I made one,” del Rosario said. “It was so bad; I didn’t know how to do anything. I couldn’t figure it out – I kept deleting the same post.”
To be a contributor, she said, the article has to be looked over by editors, who then decide whether to post it.
“They’re not going to like it,” she remembered thinking. “Twenty-four hours later, it got approved and I was like ‘Oh, sick!’ and then I just kept doing it from there.”
Del Rosario is an international student from the Philippines. It isn’t uncommon for students from her international high school to apply to colleges in Southern California, del Rosario said.
There are four students in her year who are now at Chapman from her high school, she said. Chapman is a particularly popular school among the students at her alma mater.
“My sister goes to the University of California, San Diego, and my mom wanted us to be close,” said del Rosario. “My sister is really close to me and we talk all the time.”
Her sister’s close proximity also has helped del Rosario overcome homesickness, she said.
“Besides my family, I miss Filipino food,” del Rosario said. “They don’t really have it (in the U.S.). If I want it, I have to ask someone to make it for me. My sister doesn’t know how to cook and I don’t have access to a kitchen, so it’s (hard).”
When del Rosario visits home, she stocks up on Filipino snacks for herself and her friends.
“I bring my favorite biscuits, they’re called Dewberries,” del Rosario said. “The strawberry ones are the best.”
Del Rosario said her friends were surprised at how much they enjoyed the Filipino snacks.
Even though she misses her favorite foods, the transition from the Philippines to Chapman hasn’t been too hard for del Rosario.
“My friend group has always been super supportive,” she said. “My best friend is an international student, and we’re really close. She’s definitely helpful because she feels whatever I feel.”
Junior teammate Nicole Fouts said del Rosario once lent her a racket when hers was broken.
“Monika is really sweet,” Fouts said. “She has a great personality. She’s always putting a smile on everyone’s face.”
Del Rosario said she always knew she wanted to attend college in Southern California, and chose Chapman because of its communication school and the bonus of being able to play tennis.
“I started playing tennis when I was 7,” del Rosario said. “My family is a tennis family, my sister (and I) are named after tennis players.”
Del Rosario is named after the famous Yugoslavian tennis player Monica Seles, mostly because her mother liked the name. Her mother always wanted del Rosario and her sister to play tennis, partly because she played tennis herself, and still plays quite well, del Rosario said.
Although she’s happy to play tennis at Chapman, her high school’s league was very different, she said.
“We played across Southeast Asia, not (just) in the Philippines,” said del Rosario. “We’ve played in Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok. I flew to Bangkok my senior and junior years to play.”
Del Rosario hopes to use her psychology and communication studies degrees to pursue a career in social media. She knows she wants to continue to make quizzes for BuzzFeed.
It’s fun to do, it helps me de-stress and it keeps me connected to the industry,” she said.