Well, it’s not goodbye yet. But in exactly two weeks from today I will walk out of my very last class at UCSB, and a week after that I’ll be walking across the stage, diploma in hand, off to face the world.
I’ve been getting nostalgic and thinking about my experience here for the last two years. I never imagined myself at UCSB. Ever. Lo and behold, now I’m a happy Gaucho and thankful that I was able to learn from so many wonderful people, teachers & my fellow students.
But, with any good experience, there are always bad experiences interspersed too. Ha. So, here’s my list of pro’s and con’s from my time at UCSB.
pro: Once in a life time opportunities to hear and learn from an amazing array of individuals in lecture and in events. What UCSB may lack in individual attention, they make up for with the folks that visit and teach. These are a few of my favorites:
- Paul Farmer, doctor, philanthropist & fascinating individual.
- Andrew Davis, director of the Fugitive (starring my beloved Indy) and Holes
- Judith Meisel, a Lithuanian Holocaust Survivor
- Gary Shteyngart, author, a funny one I might add
- Dexter Filkins, brilliant journalist who has covered both US Wars in the Middle East
- John Ledlie, British Civil Servant who worked in Belfast throughout the conflict in N. Ireland and during the Good Friday Agreement (!!!)
- Mark Juergensmeyer, hands down, one of the best professors known to man and the reason I can graduate with a global studies degree. And he’s been to North Korea. And he interviews terrorists.
- Listened to a discussion about the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Dennis Ross, former lead negotiator for the US, and Ghaith al-Omari, former head negotiator for the Palestinian Authority.
- (I even had a professor that grew up in the Gaza strip).
- Dr. Mona Kanwal Sheikh, a remarkable woman who has had numerous face-to-face interviews with the Taliban and shared her knowledge about radical Islam with us. Fearless.
con: Getting your bike stolen. Or if you’re like me, your front wheel. Expect it at least once. At least.
pro: Um. It’s absolutely beautiful. And you can wear shorts almost every day if you wanted to.
con: You can wear shorts almost every day if you want to. Embrace the sweater // boot weather when you have it, because it’s precious. Winter doesn’t exist.
pro: FREE MTD bus pass. Yes, I know you are all jealous of my free access to Santa Barbara’s elite public bus service. Sarcasm aside, it’s been a staple in my everyday life and I’m so thankful for free transport. And the occasional strange conversation.
con: It’s a big school. I mean, it’s a UC. So you aren’t going to get the same kind of attention you would at a smaller school. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t get to know your professors; it just means you have to work hard at it. But being one of over 20,000 is a little dizzying at times.
pro: I got to learn Arabic—العربية—ARABIC! Amazing. Not every university offers that. And not every university has wonderful teachers teaching it too.
Well, that’s it for now.
(Here’s a selfie with my arabic professor and a few of my classmates from our class party tonight)
ma salaama! (goodbye)