Things I will not miss about Santa Barbara: The street parking. Our obnoxious neighbors blaring terrible EDM at 2 am on the weekdays. The tar on the beach that follows you home and stays with you for a week. The people that refuse to yield in the bike lanes. The cat-calling on DP on Friday nights. Staying up until 5 am running on nothing but coffee for finals.
Things I will miss about Santa Barbara: Coming home after class and standing on the balcony overlooking the waves. Some of the sweetest roommates/housemates I’ve had in four years at UCSB. The sense of community that comes from being a Gaucho. Being surrounded by some of the most ambitious and most down people I’ve ever met. The vibrancy and life of Isla Vista. Everything being within walking distance. The professors who hold degrees from Ivy Leagues but love Santa Barbara so much that they came to teach here. The quiet, calm mornings saturated with fog. GMs on Sunday and meeting new pledges every quarter. Living three steps from some of my favorite people and ten steps from the beach. Our beautiful new library. Watching the sun set behind Storke Tower. I’ll miss it all.
But I think what I’ll miss most about college is just being surrounded by people all of the time. Running into my friends at the library, seeing my pbros at Hana Kitchen, having classes with my old roommates. There are the good friends, of course, the ones you’ll have at your wedding and the ones you’ll make an effort to keep in touch with. But then there are others that play smaller, yet almost as significant roles. Peripheral friends, to whose presence you have become accustomed to over time. People whose absence you will notice, even if you weren’t always aware of it, just because they are familiar to you, rocks to which you have anchored yourself in your world, secondary characters that enrich the scene and make it more colorful.
As I take my next steps into the world, it’s a very bittersweet feeling. There’s so much I’m leaving behind. But my favorite part of graduation is that the ceremony is called “Commencement,” which signifies a beginning. It acknowledges that the best is yet to come.
I would not trade the past four years of my life for anything. Some of the people I’ve met I already know will be friends for life, and some of the things I’ve accomplished here are the things I’m most proud of. And for that, I am very lucky.
Goodbye Santa Barbara, you’ve been so very good to me. I will miss you dearly. And thank you to all of the people who made the past four years of my life so beautiful.
Originally published at www.jayemsey.com.