By Selene Lopez
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
Political Science Major, Labor Studies & Spanish Minor
As a first-generation college student, attending UCSB has been an unimaginable privilege. In retrospect, the knowledge and experiences that I was introduced to the past four years have shaped the person that I am today. At first, I undermined the academic prestige that UCSB offered as a public institution. However, the professors that I have met and TA’s that I have worked with have revolutionized my thinking of academia, life and the world.
UCSB was not just about learning, but making memories as well. From moving away from home, to joining a sorority to traveling abroad in Australia, I believe that I have encompassed the college experience, the good and the bad, all while working on receiving a degree. I remember the night that I met my roommates in Santa Rosa (residence hall) and going to Storke Plaza for a concert. I will forever remember my first friends that I made that year. Those friends were my foundation whenever I was homesick. We were all struggling freshmen trying to adjust with this new life, trying to find ourselves and our purpose in life. Because I had such an amazing first year, I cannot imagine my college experience without them.
Fast forward three years, less than two weeks before Commencement: I am nostalgic to leave such a beautiful place, that I now call home. But just like I ended a chapter in my life in 2010, another must end this June. I will be forever grateful for my parents support in pursuing a higher education and I know that they are proud of what I am about to accomplish. I truly appreciate all the people I have met and the friendships I have made because I know that these are the people that I want to keep in touch with for future years. I am astounded with the knowledge that I have acquired because I have become a different person that I cannot remember my freshman self. Lastly, I am proud of myself because of my own ambition to succeed and for discovering my purpose in life. I cannot imagine having attended another institution as an undergraduate because UCSB is such a unique place. It will forever be in my heart for giving me the best years of my life.