The day I found out I was going to UCSC was one of the most disappointing days of my life. I had planned for years to go to UCSB, and when they turned me down it meant leaving all my friends, my family, and various other plans for a place I’d never even been to. As move-in day neared I talked to a few friends who had been there who made me feel better, and the campus seemed cool when I visited for orientation, but it was still with a strong sense of trepidation and regret that I packed all my stuff up and left Santa Barbara.
It’s funny looking back on that because I feel like I came so close to never coming here. Turns out I had challenging but interesting classes, a beautiful campus, and it wasn’t even as cold as I feared. More than anything though, my first year was defined by sixth floor Porter. I felt such a tight knit sense of community with everyone, playing nightly LoL in between eating at/complaining about the dining hall, partying with two buck chuck, going on night hikes, and generally feeling like part of a massive eccentric family.
If it wasn’t for all my friends leaving I would have stayed in the dorms a second year, but instead I moved into the Redwood Grove apartments with a few ex-Porter friends. I was worried that without the forced social interaction of the dorms things wouldn’t be the same, but having ones own living room makes board games or socializing or just relaxing a lot easier and I’ve loved my living situation. Though this is probably in no small part due to my excellent luck in flatmates!
UCSC gave me the friends and camaraderie and belonging that I kind of expected from tertiary education but never got. For me that was the more valuable than the knowledge or degree that is supposed to be I attended, and it’s certainly what will define my memories of being here.
I just signed up for my last quarter’s classes and already I feel the dread of leaving, wondering if I should double major or get a masters or just fail a require class, anything to stay here longer… But I remember how sad I was to leave Santa Barbara and how unexpectedly awesome that turned out and it makes me feel a bit better about whatever is around the next corner.