School Pride

I had the privilege of visiting UC Santa Cruz last weekend for the first time since graduation. One of my friends from high school, who just happens to be in San Francisco, wanted to visit a farm in the area and invited me to come along. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to revisit my beautiful university.

The first thing we did when we arrived was visit the farm which was very interesting although different from the one I visited in Denmark. This farm in Santa Cruz was much smaller and had much more connection with the community. For example, they hosted multiple educational programs and offered internships for people who wanted to learn more about food. The farm in Denmark, in contrast, had much fewer people working on the fields and much larger machinery; it was more commercialized so to speak.

After an hour and a half on the farm, I had the further pleasure of giving my friend a comprehensive tour of the campus. I have to say that it was very enjoyable to see my campus again. From the hill top along the bicycle path with an ocean view to the amphitheater surrounded by cliffs and redwoods, I was reminded why UCSC is repeatedly rated as having one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. My friend was also impressed of the natural beauty within and surrounding the campus which is only expected because it is truly a magnificent place to study. Anyone who can appreciate the beauty of mother earth would enjoy what UCSC has to offer.

In the middle of giving him the tour, I went into the campus bookstore and finally bought a UCSC sweater. It was the first time that I ever bought anything with UCSC written on it. When I was still a student, I never thought much about buying any school paraphernalia. I simply did not see the point, and on top of that, it was expensive. Why would people have pride in their universities? I did not understand. That mentality perfectly reflected my immature stage of development in which I did not want to learn. Even though I understood that UCSC had its uniqueness, I failed to understand why people would have school spirit. It was not until after graduation that I began to be proud, but unfortunately, I was unable to buy any school merchandise until recently.

I would like to take this opportunity to switch tracks a bit and describe the cause of my change in opinion. I understand that this entry started as an update on events, but I think it is more important to elaborate further on my previous development.

The reason why I started to become proud was because I began to understand the critical role my university played in shaping the man I am today. I am an environmentalist, an intellectual and a dissident because of UCSC. I am who I am because of the unique environment my university offered. It is no secret that Santa Cruz is filled with people living "alternative" lifestyles. What is normal there is odd everywhere else.

This special opportunity to be in this environment allowed me to observe different types of people with different types of philosophies. And being immersed in a diverse culture naturally led me to be open which, in turn, led to discussion. What followed was not only tolerance, but also assimilation. I am "alternative" because of UCSC and I am proud of it.

Why am I so proud of being different you ask? The answer is simple.

The existence of different lifestyles and opinions means that there is more hope of society progressing. If we want to improve the world, we need to discover better ways of doing things and better means different than what we are doing now. There is no progress if there is just sameness.