I’m not under any illusions here. I’m perfectly aware that for the next week saving the world comes in a distant second to getting through finals, even for the most dedicated activist. Some of you will be studying like mad. Others will be blitzed to the point of oblivion. If for some reason you’ve stumbled onto this column, I’m sure the last thing you want to do is think deeply right now.

I hear you. I’m taking a break, too. The best thing I can do for you in this Dead Week issue is to offer some encouragement to all of you sleeping through your finals.

You’re standing on the shoulders of giants, comrades. This school has been the stomping ground for incredible people. Here’s a list of a few of them, courtesy of the Kiosk student handbook:

“Some famous UCSB alumni include Michael Douglas (actor), Giondomenico Picco (Assistant Secretary General to United Nations), Faisal Fahad (Prince of Saudi Arabia) … Bob Ballard (Chief Scientist on team that discovered the Titanic), Brian Shaw (played with Boston Celtics and Miami Heat), Terry Schroeder (Olympic silver medalist in water polo), Joe Redfield (played with Pittsburgh Pirates), Richard Serra (internationally known sculptor), Barbara Rush (actress), Robert Lagomarsino (former Congressman), Scott Frank (wrote screenplay for the movie ‘Dead Again’) and Gregg Araki (filmmaker, ‘The Living End’).”

One of them, Robert Ballard, is the world’s foremost oceanographer and returned this week to speak in Campbell Hall. The guy is exceptionally smart.

I live with smart people. I work with smart people. While flipping through yearbooks to find Ballard’s most embarrassing school photo to use in our article, I was pleased to meet another very bright person on the La Cumbre staff.

Thinking of the people I work with and the people I’ve met here, I’m pleased to say that it’s a great place to go to school. It’s nice to know that the numbers back this up.

UCSB is a member of the Association of American Universities, a list of the 60 leading colleges in the U.S. and Canada. We were also ranked the second best public research institution in the U.S., as of 1997.

Kiosk also notes that 50 percent of UCSB students participate in some form of community service, compared to 25 percent of the American public. You can tell that to the next person who whines about what an evil place Isla Vista is.

UCSB is one of the top 30 U.S. institutions producing students who go on to obtain a doctorate. The acceptance rate into medical schools for UCSB students since 1987 has ranged between 62 and 78 percent, while the national average has been only between 49 to 60 percent.

So when you’re sweating over finals this coming week, remember that thanks to the efforts of professors and faculty at UCSB, the students who came before you and those that will graduate with you, your degree will be worth quite a lot. And remember: all of them hated finals, too.

I leave you with a few more facts from Kiosk: