Before applying to Santa Clara, I had never been to California before. However, as a girl from Chicago, I was so tired of being cold the majority of the year that coming to a place with 300 days of sun and a high that does not really get below 58 degrees sounded pretty nice. I also wanted to have a different experience for college than I had growing up, and while I love the midwest with all of my heart, I wanted to try something new for college, and California seemed like the perfect place to do that. What I was not prepared for was how much moving across the country would change me. While there are plenty of people from Chicago at Santa Clara, there was no one from my high school that was currently attending Santa Clara and no one came with me, so I was completely alone. And for a while, that was very difficult for me. I felt like there were a lot of students who came to SCU with people from their high schools, even though this was not true, and it felt like everyone already had their social circles set up. I definitely felt alone and it was hard to be so far away from home and feel like I had no support system to lean back on. However, one of the ways that I really started to find my “group” at Santa Clara was through the different clubs and activities that I joined. Through these clubs, I was able to meet people with so many different backgrounds, and it exposed me to people who had lived a completely different life than I had. This was ultimately something that I wanted and one of the main reasons that I chose to come to school in a place that was very different from where I grew up.
Ultimately, I chose to come to SCU for a couple of reasons. As I mentioned earlier, the weather was a huge draw for me. In addition to that, I visited campus, and I loved how friendly the campus community was. Everyone was saying hi to each other on the way to class, and it seemed like a very positive campus where people were able to make real connections. I also liked the collaborative nature of the classes here, as I knew that I thrived better in a collaborative vs. competitive academic setting. And most importantly, I was able to study what I wanted to - theater and child studies. All of those reasons were why I decided to apply. The thing that drove home my decision and made me realize that SCU was where I was supposed to be was when I came back to the university during my senior year to audition for a theater scholarship after I got in. During the audition, I talked to one of the professors in the theater department. He asked me about what other schools I was considering and what my goals were post-college. He went through all of my schools to help me narrow down my list, and at the end of everything, he gave me his business card and told me to stay in touch with him because he wanted to help me make the most informed decision Regardless of whether I chose Santa Clara or not, he wanted to help me in whatever way he could once I reached the professional world. At that point, I had not deposited, I was not 100% coming to Santa Clara, but the fact that he went out of his way to offer his help and guidance really demonstrated how much the professors at SCU care about their students and how much they want them to succeed., That really drove home the fact that Santa Clara was probably the place that I was meant to be.
I have now been at Santa Clara for a little over a year, and I can confidently say that I made the right decision in coming here. While the transition was rough in the beginning, especially because I was far away from home, I do not think that I would have been able to grow as much as I have if I stayed close to home. I have met so many amazing people from so many different backgrounds, and I have been forced to really evaluate the type of person I want to be and the types of people that I want to surround myself with. While I may not be able to go home for a weekend, I have been able to form relationships with people who truly make SCU feel like my home away from home.
To anyone who is worried about going to school out of state, know that the transition might be difficult. It might be hard to not be able to go home as easily as some of your friends. But also know that you will grow more than you ever have before, and you will be able to experience so many things that you might not have had the opportunity to had you stayed close to home.
For example, I was able to go into Santa Cruz with a group of friends several times last year and go to the beach and walk around the town. I have had opportunities to go on some beautiful hikes and really explore all of the nature that California has to offer. I joined several clubs including a cappella, off-campus Greek life, and I was fortunate enough to participate in a mainstage theater production. And I am currently preparing to go on an immersion trip to the Arizona/Mexico border. I never would have been able to join all of these clubs, go on an immersion, and get into nature as much as I have had I not taken the chance to come to SCU