Senior Spotlight: Adrian Garcia Plasma Dreams guitarist rocks philosophical thought

Senior Spotlight: Adrian Garcia Plasma Dreams guitarist rocks philosophical thought

Leah Boynton


After applying to Whittier a few days before the deadline on a whim, Adrian Garcia took a chance and came to the College.  “Things in my life have really happened because of chance. Nothing is really planned,” said Garcia. 

Garcia is a Philosophy major and likes to ask and answer questions, a key element of his discipline. He continues to credit chance as the reason for his chosen major. “I chose to be a Philosophy major because I was influenced by a high school history teacher who always said he wanted to teach philosophy,” said Garcia. “It was a chance thing that I signed up for a [philosophy] class freshman year.” 

Garcia started out at Whittier as a Business Administration major, but after taking Philosophical Issues in Imaginative Literature during his first year, he was swayed to change his major. He said he became good at thinking about larger questions and giving answers that push the envelope and encourage further critical thinking and questions. 

“I feel that a lot of students come out of school wishing they did more philosophy,” said Garcia. “I think it’s important in the sense that it helps you critically think about things and deconstruct important things in your life. It helps with things as deep as relationships … and how to be a better person. [Philosophy] helps in non-traditional ways. It’s helpful for the soul.” 

For his senior project, Garcia focused on the topic of consumption in relationship with self-care. “My project really focuses on how self-care is very managed on coping with immense amounts of work … as opposed to actually taking a deep deliberative look at the stressors that exist in our life,” said Garcia. 

His project is deeply inspired  by Mark Fisher’s book titled Capitalist Realism. “He wrote about this depressive consumption … and I saw that with a lot of friends in my own life,” said Garcia. Capitalist Realism discusses how actual change in a capitalist society seems impossible. 

Garcia jokes that he is a “one trick pony,” and, therefore, his Mellon Mays Fellowship research also relates to Capitalist Realism. He wrote about Occupy Toronto, a protest against goverment corruption that occured in 2011 in Ontario, Canada. 

“The biggest thing with Mellon Mays is that it gives you a way to be disciplined about your work,” said Garcia. “Mellon Mays was the first work project in an academic sense that made me more professional and compatible with academia.” 

After graduation, Garcia is going to take a year off to play music with his band and prepare himself for graduate studies. He hopes to pursue more education in philosophy. 

His rock band, Plasma Dreams, formed in 2015 and became a more serious group when they got a gig playing at Hempfest in Oregon. They are inspired by the 1980s and have been complimented for their unique sound. Garcia plays guitar in his free time, and the band gives him an outlet to unwind. He has been playing guitar since his second year of high school. 

“What brings me joy is the struggle of playing music,” said Garcia. “Music should be something that is expressed first, then struggled with second. Making meaningful music and phrases in guitar is so difficult because music is accessible to so many people.” The band plays every first Thursday of the month at a 21-and-over bar, Que Sera, in Long Beach. 

Garcia is going to miss the people at Whittier and the chance encounters he has with individuals on campus. He feels that he is a very different person than he was when he arrived at Whittier.  “The people here have created an environment in which you can have strong relationships,” said Garcia. “I think I’m a better person coming out of this college.” 

Courtesy of Adrian Garcia 

Courtesy of Adrian Garcia 

Courtesy of Adrian Garcia 

Courtesy of Adrian Garcia