The four years I attended college at UC Santa Barbara were the best of my life.
I can’t tell you on how many different occasions I sat on the patio at the dining commons with friends, or walked the 5 minutes it took to get to the beach, or biked through Isla Vista, looked around, and said, “I can’t believe we live here.“
I haven’t been able to think of anything except my beloved alma mater all weekend. But it wasn’t until I sat down to write this post (while in typical Gaucho fashion listening to Jack Johnson, a UCSB alum) that I finally broke down and cried.
I cry because, for those who currently attend UCSB, their college experience has been tainted.
I cry because the Isla Vista in this picture is forever changed. That very street behind me that loops around our small college town, where we used to walk freely and fearlessly, is now a crime scene.
I cry because a deeply disturbed young man drove past both apartments I lived in during my time as an Isla Vista resident. He shot at innocent victims on the corner of Sabado Tarde Road and Camino Del Sur, where we lived my senior year. Where I celebrated my 21st birthday. Where a 2 minute walk leads you to this view:
It will take years for the UCSB and Isla Vista community to rebuild.
But I know they will.
Until then, I will continue to remind myself, and others, that the actions of one disturbed individual will not change the fond feelings I have of one of the greatest universities in the country. And I will hold on to the memories that I hold so dear:
- Being silly at the beach with my girlfriends
- Cheering on our soccer team with the Gaucho Locos and tossing tortillas on the field for every goal
- My summer living on Del Playa Drive with my closest friends and Frank the Tank (our pug)
- Finally spotting the ALBINO RACCOON!! An Isla Vista legend.
- Festivals in Isla Vista like Earth Day and Chilla Vista that celebrate peace, love & unity
- Halloween on Del Playa, which was always a mad house… But it’s our mad house
- The best spring quarter ever spent with my co-ed senior year roomies (and a couple extra friends)
- Graduation, where the sense of community and pride was only matched by our grief that we would soon be leaving this wonderful place.
I hope you share with me in honoring those whose lives were lost, and in sending your thoughts and prayers to the students whose college experience is forever changed.
And because I am a news junkie who works in media/communications, here are some articles about Friday night’s events that I find informative, well done, or interesting:
Seven Killed in Isla Vista Shooting Spree – initial coverage from the UCSB Daily Nexus
Isla Vista’s troubles belie UC Santa Barbara’s academic strength – Los Angeles Times
Misogyny Didn’t Turn Elliot Rodger Into a Killer — TIME Magazine
The Most Powerful #YesAllWomen Tweets — TIME Magazine — “Rodger’s comments inspired an online conversation to criticize the way society teaches men to feel entitled to women at the expense of their health, safety and, in Rodger’s case, lives.”