I’ll be perfectly honest — UCSB wasn’t my first choice, by far. I came out of high school the preppy, sarcastic valedictorian of a sleepy suburb no one’s heard of. Despite receiving the Regents Scholarship here, I was sure that I was off to Pomona College in Claremont. Surely, someone such as myself would never attend a school where the STD rate was said to be 33 percent, and everyone lives for Friday and Saturday night.
Getting waitlisted at every private school I wanted to go to gave me the greatest lesson in humility I think I have ever experienced. But as I sit here writing an article I’ve been thinking about for months, I don’t think I could be more glad for it.
My time at UCSB has profoundly changed me in ways I could never have anticipated. It flipped me upside down. Just over a year ago, despite my crimson conservatism, I could not even imagine myself listening to country music. Now, country line and swing dancing is the single most time-consuming hobby I have. Once the prudish, smart-guy type who confused everyone with his diction, I’ve caught myself using the word “brah” perhaps a little more than I’d like.
But perhaps my personal beliefs have undergone the greatest and most counterintuitive changes. I came here convinced of Ayn Randian philosophy and pure libertarian ideology, totally having bought in to the populism of Ron Paul (Tea Party before it was cool). Now, perhaps to your chagrin, I am the strictest of elitist constitutional conservatives, an advocate of the Empire of Liberty. Hopefully, if I have done my job correctly, you know the difference.
Most importantly, in a time when many in our country are increasingly antagonistic to the idea of God, I moved from a tepid agnosticist and occasional deist to a strong believer in Christ. Suffice it to say that He has not left me unchanged, and I am not who I was before. It would not be a great exaggeration to say my coming to faith has been the single most important event in my life, not only spiritually but practically. Nearly all of the close friendships I made here, ones I expect to retain well into adulthood, have their root in our common faith. My mentorship of a freshman in a Christian group I’m active in is perhaps — and this would be impossible to say lightly — the most rewarding thing I’ve done here. As I close, I exhort you all to not intertwine or falsely associate our faith with politics, as easy as it might be. We do not claim to be better than you; we have freely spoken the truth to you, and our hearts are wide open.
It has been an immense pleasure to be the proselytizer of conservatism to you these past two years, and I hope that I’ve convinced at least one of you that it’s right to be Right.
“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man” —Thomas Jefferson
Jeffrey Robin: The Elephant is out of the Room
A version of this article appeared on page 8 of the May 28, 2013 print edition of the Nexus.
Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.