In this interview series, we asked Antioch University Santa Barbara students on the eve of their graduation about their motivations and challenges on the way to the finish line.
Tahmina Ansari is from Norway but was born in Afghanistan during the rise of the Taliban movement. She witnessed her mother make tremendous sacrifices to leave Afghanistan, and it was her mother’s determination that first inspired her to earn a degree in the US – but her own determination pushed her to finish and realize her dreams. “I’m excited because I started my degree for someone else, but finished it because of myself. This is a big accomplishment for me as I was born in Afghanistan at a time where women had no right to education,” she shared. “If you do something for someone else, it only takes you so far. You have to do it for yourself.”
“Antioch is for certain types of people. Antioch is unique in so many ways,” she explained when asked why she chose AUSB. “I liked the small classroom and hands-on learning style and that I got to study in California and not cold Norway. I finished my degree while exploring the classes Antioch had to offer.”
Professor Don Blumenthal speaks highly of Tahmina and is proud to have been her mentor. “Tahmina is finishing up her second internship and has already received a full-time offer from a Santa Barbara nonprofit organization. She has another job opportunity in the works for a medical partnership,” he shared. “What a great story and a great young lady. She makes our team proud.”
Tahmina said the people at Antioch were also her inspiration and motivation. About Don Blumenthal and others, she commented, “He really believes in me. My advisor, Shara (Keller) has been amazing in so many ways. Stuart Light has taught me things that I use in my everyday life.”
Tahmina graduates with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, and a double concentration in Communication & Media and Applied Psychology. After graduation, Tahmina said her next step is, “To do what makes me happy and work on being a better person and in service for others. If I can gain that by a full-time job, traveling, or take a longer education I don’t know yet.”
Her advice to incoming students on school and on life: “Be open-minded, give it a try – you will never know!”