Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How College Changed ME!

UC Santa Barbara
Just over 10 years ago I completed my college education at the most beautiful university. I was meant to be a Gaucho. In some strange way, when I first visited I felt I could call this college community my home. And my home it became. I don't remember too many professors. I can't recount the core courses I took or countless books I read. But there's so much during those *5 years that make me, ME! (*Graduated in four years, but took year five to travel abroad and fall in love with my eventual husband; that alone sure changes a GAL)!

Recently a mutual acquaintance told my friend she knew me in college and almost seemed apprehensive to define who she considered me to be. With some hesitation she explained "she was a... a... party girl!" HA! My girlfriend said, "that sounds right!" I was very much a party girl and I am proud of that. I also had excellent grades! Dancing on the speaker box doesn't mean I was any less serious about academics. I was just doing what I somewhat still do today... balance hard work with FUN! That take on life makes me a happy career woman. I'm sure my professional colleagues would call me both good at what I do and also a little wild. Plus, my chosen career path is one that allows for a little fun mixed with a lot of hard work. I'm also a pretty fun-loving mom who can get "chocolate wasted" with the best of them.

As a strolled my college campus this weekend for a 10 year reunion get-together with friends (the best a girl could have), I randomly ran into my favorite college professor. That seems like a coincidence, but I believe it was fate. The chance encounter reminded me of the college courses that shook me to the core. Those that empowered and those that changed my mind about the world. They opened my mind and heart. I was transformed. Those courses and that professor are part of my life's mission to stand up for moral and human rights that I believe in today. My conviction and compassionate for this part of my adult life came to fruition in those formative college years. It is why I work in education. It is why I became an advocate for disadvantaged youth.  

In college I became the president of my sorority. So the party girl wasn't only worried about parties and good grades, she also always wanted to be a leader. In my year as president I discovered a gift of mine. I love public speaking. I enjoy leadership roles. I was meant to lead then and I continue to lead now in my profession and even as a mother. I account those years of active involvement in social clubs for developing this essential characteristic of mine and for creating a more confident and well-rounded adult.

Finally, I always talk about how college is so much more than buying books and picking majors. I could care less if my children decide to be biochem or art majors. I just want them to transform in their experience as I did. I want them to experience the wild all-nighters, the dorm madness, create profound and lasting friendships, and have the kind of classes and professors that speak to them for a lifetime. College changes you and it so often isn't about the studies but about the lessons... life lessons!

UCSB Library 
What life journey changed you? Was it college, motherhood or marriage?

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