Most of the time during the first week of school, the same question is inevitably asked.
“How was your break?”
It’s unavoidable. For the sake of appeasing the masses, it was a break, sure, but it didn’t really feel like spring. It wasn’t much of a break, either. When I try to explain how I spend a good portion of my week off working on a construction site, the face of the person on the receiving end of my explanation usually has a rather quizzical look on their face. It’s as if they somehow feel sorry for me – those rain-riddled mornings in suburban Sacramento are hell compared drinking oneself stupid on some tropical paradise.
Don’t feel sorry for me.
My logic is simple: I’m at UC Santa Barbara.
As I embark on my last quarter of this little paradise that occasionally substitutes as a school, I still have one pet peeve that has irked me since the first day I arrived here. There is this pretentious, spoiled mantra that lurks on this campus and reeks of foresight.
Daddy cut my allowance off by 100 bones, the girl studying behind me whines. I can’t believe I have to go to class today, the dude relents. Boy X won’t call me back, my life sucks, the girl gripes.
Does your life really suck? Did you even stop to think, even for a moment, how fucking awesome your life is compared to, say, the rest of the world? The problems that we UCSB kids face in most of our lives are so mundane, so moot, that the fact that we find ourselves whining in the first place is borderline absurd.
Professor Schroeder so eloquently coined the term “winners of a genetic lottery” to refer to Olympic athletes and I feel as though everyone here has been merely lucky enough to be born who and where they are. I feel as though I am just lucky that my parents’ monetary priorities were to put my sister and me through college. They don’t have deep pockets; rather, they put off doing the normal things that adults do – like buying new cars, taking vacations or joining country clubs – to put both my sister and me through the UC system. They succeeded, and not a day goes by that I don’t remember how lucky I am to even be here.
Every time I see someone here dogging it in class, wasting all of their time away hibernating in a dorm room playing video games or lurping on Facebook, I think of friends I have from back home, who are probably smarter than me, whose parents wouldn’t help bankroll their college experience and are instead rotting away at a junior college or have just given up on school altogether. Hell, that could have been me.
But instead, I am here living the dream. The biggest problems we face are squeezing out a B+ research paper the night before it’s due. My biggest problem this quarter will probably be trying to make it to my 8 a.m. classes or finding enough time to drink my way through the 50 Club at the Study Hall. Are those really … problems?
So, this brings me back to my Spring Break experience perched on a muddy hill, eating lunch from the “roach coach” with the blue-collar regulars. I watched a family of Mexican-Americans, smiling, joking and eating their respective lunches. Such a lifestyle, one that involves getting to work at 6:45 in the morning and doing grunt work as a career would make most UCSB students cringe. They were doing it just to make rent and feed their kids. I somehow doubt they enjoy the same luxuries that most of us do. Yet there they were, with smiles on their faces, not complaining about a damn thing. I was freaking out that I had to be up that early, and I was only working to make a little bit of extra spending money on the side. I almost felt bad even being there.
So, if the question arises again of how my Spring Break went: so far, it’s awesome.
I’ve been on it the last four years.
Daily Nexus Sports Editor Sean Swaby tried to start a wet t-shirt contest at his construction site, but he had to settle for downing the 40 he had stashed in his toolbelt.