The manner in which two different musicians compose and perform can be just as distinct as their personalities. “Individuality of expression is the beginning and end of all art,” wrote the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Cory Fildes and Will Stout, both undergraduate music composition majors at UC Santa Barbara’s Music Department, are a perfect example of this individuality. Both students write sheets of music every week. But although these two room together, their personal journeys differ completely and these variations become strikingly apparent in their music.
“The news that I was one of the 20 accepted could not have come at a better time in my life,” said college journalist Alondra Sierraof her acceptance into the Chronicle of Higher Education’s journalism workshop.
The Chronicle is the largest newspaper in the nation to cover higher education. This past summer, Sierra was among 20 college journalists from across the U.S to attend its two-day reporting workshop, all expenses paid. Now, back at UC Santa Barbara, Sierra is continuing to take journalism course through the Writing Program as part of the new Journalism Certificate program.
The “Asian bubble” of Communication major Eric Lee’s hometown of San Gabriel kept him immersed in Taiwanese culture all his life. That bubble burst the instant he left home for UC Santa Barbara.
“I found myself at one of the most racially diverse campuses in the United States, a far cry from my hometown,” he said of the transition. “Without a boba café on every corner and friends and family, I felt lost. I felt like I had been disconnected from my racial identity and was unsure if I should downplay my heritage and culture to fit in better, or cling to it tighter than ever before.”
“Contrary to popular belief, I was not born under some auspicious sign, playing Mozart and doodling hyper-realistic portraits since I was two days old,” explains Marc Rusli of his passion for the arts as he majors in physics. “I developed each skill slowly during some period in my life…Doodling was the only option I had to relieve boredom…I sometimes wonder whether I would have any amount of drawing skill if I had been born five years later, whether I would entertain myself with an iPad rather than pencils and paper.”
“Had I not taken that Writing Program class, I may have dropped out. Had I not watched that movie and heard that legendary journalist talk about how he discovered the newest best restaurants before anyone, heard him speak about how every bite of food tasted—making me feel the ambiance of every locale —who knows where I would be now? But that movie, and more importantly Jonathan Gold, did what two years of switching majors couldn’t do. “
Writing student Justin Mallette recounts how an encounter with the late Pulitzer-Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold, inspired him to remain at UC Santa Barbara and become a writer.
“The whole point of having the undergrad education and having it be in liberal arts is that it’s that ideal time in your life to explore every possible thing that seems interesting and then at some point you may find your passion.”
—BILL GRAYSON, ALUMNUS IN HISTORY AND POLITICAL SCIENCE AT UC SANTA BARBARA
“After some brainstorming and research, we came up with the name “UndAWARE.” Bras, panties, pads and tampons are basic human necessities, yet they are the items least donated to women’s shelters. Often, homeless women have to make a choice between paying for meals or buying a box of tampons each month. Furthermore, wearing the same undergarments for extended periods of time can lead to serious health problems.”
—SASHA NASIR, THIRD-YEAR FEMINIST STUDIES MAJOR AT UC SANTA BARBARA
“Working with UCSB TV and attending a few of these workshops has really helped me find my niche. It can be difficult for transfer students to get involved with campus events, learn about the different free services that are available on campus and even find friends. While I might have eventually stumbled across workshops hosted by different departments or the AS Food Bank, it was having to research our television stories that has familiarized me with the campus and all it has to offer.”
“Little did I realize that during those dining hall meals I would also be getting a taste of culture on the side. I lived at an off-campus dorms my freshman year called Tropicana Del Norte, which was a melting pot of people from different parts of the world.
Amid all the stimulation surrounding me, the noises that particularly grabbed my attention were the sounds of various accents and languages. I had never been around so many languages different from my own – English and Tagalog. The sounds of Japanese, French, Portuguese and Chinese stirred within me a sense of curiosity and wonder. I befriended several foreign exchange students that year from Brazil, Japan, Italy, Korea and China, and each time they spoke in their native tongues, I was fascinated.”
“I knew I had made the right decision to transfer to UC Santa Barbara, when I received an email from my screenwriting professor at the end of first quarter. She told me I should send my pilot episode to production companies because I had developed a “potential hit series.”
I am just one of many students who have experienced success transferring into UCSB, due in no small part to the UC system’s Junior Transfer Program. The UC’s have historically been very supportive of transfer students, especially those coming from California community colleges who are guaranteed admittance to one of the UC campuses after two years.”
—KATHERINE GRAYSON, FILM & MEDIA STUDIES TRANSFER STUDENT
“It wasn't until I joined Hermanas Unidas, a Latina/Chicana campus organization, that I finally felt a sense of belonging. It gave me a new home away from home. Hermanas Unidas, or United Sisters, is an organization that serves the Latina/Chicana community on campus and provides boundless opportunities and resources for its members. Quarterly retreats and road trips to other chapters allow new and current members to explore places outside of campus, and to bond and build social relationships with one another. Organizing a Valentine's day dance for a retirement home in Goleta and volunteering at local elementary schools to guide troubled youth who struggle in school, are just a few activities that provide hermanas an opportunity to invest in something larger than themselves.”
At UC Santa Barbara, we students are surrounded by academically-seasoned minds within an elite research institution. College doesn’t hand you a career, you must build a career with your own hands, and your own mind. Universities hand you the tools to learn from your passions. But, how can we use these learning tool-kits to transform our own passions into a life-long goal? My answer: Curiosity.
"When Japanese music composer, Kojiro Umezaki came to UC Santa Barbara to perform the ‘shakuhachi,’ a traditional Japanese wind instrument, I experienced insights that stayed with me through the following days. He told us the story of the instrument, which has been used by Zen Buddhists since the 15th century to enhance their practice of emptying the mind and focusing on one sound as opposed to many."
UCSB constructed the AD&A Museum in 1959 for its art education department and now it is a fully independent gallery free to anyone who wishes to visit. The small size of the museum allows for a warm, personal ambience that can be difficult to find in the larger, more popular exhibition halls of major cities. The type of art shown in the galleries varies from photography to paintings to sculpture and even video.