Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Life in the Trees - Part 1

Four years ago, I decided that I was going to be furthering my education three hundred and sixty-five miles away from home in Santa Cruz, CA. I was excited, nervous, and itching to smell the ocean everyday. What I didn't know four years ago was that this little beach town was not only going to be my home, but feel like my home. As much as I love the ease and convenience of my hometown in Los Angeles, it hasn't felt like a place I would want to call my home.

I spent four years in that little beach town. I saw the brightness of it on a Saturday morning when locals and students would stroll along the downtown streets with their kids and pets. I witnessed the college town craziness of Halloween on those same streets. I explored the quiet that came with wandering through the trees and seeing the sunlight peek through the redwoods and the fog creep in from over the sea. I even found a few little hidden gems that gave me peace when I was freaking out and stressing after overextending myself.

At the same time, I stood there mourning with my community across all of the UCs this past year when the events in Isla Vista/Santa Barbara occurred. I was there for four years of community advisories during which a Campus Security Officer was found to be planning an assault. Walked the same path where a student barely survived after being shot. I had mutual acquaintances with the student who was remembered on the bridge that he was found under. I saw and felt what these events did to our community and how so many of my friends made sure we all got home safely at night.

Every community has those things that the public rags on them for, but really is just a way for society to dismiss the generation that is becoming fully fleshed out adults. I witnessed the activities that the University does not support every year on April 20th. Saw how such an act of rebellion and culture that was condoned had become a community whose only threat to society was misuse, contamination, and lack of education stemming from an homage to the cultures of the 1970s. Some people said that the liberal culture of UCSC would diminish the value of the degree when I graduate. I couldn't answer that question from the perspective of the outside world, at least not yet. Personally, I think the liberal nature gave me what I needed.

I am a student of Marine Biology, but also of the world around me. I have always been and will forever continue to be a student. Part of Santa Cruz is now a part of me, it's that part that I see when I think about the campus as a whole. It is made up of so many different, often opposing, perspectives which gives a small amount of insight and truth to both sides when looked at and listened to closely. I like to say that I got a degree in Marine Biology but earned a degree's worth of insight into Political Ideologies and Perspectives because of the ways in which the Banana Slug community came together when it so-often remained separated.

Until next time,

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