Professional photo of Sarah Flaherty

Presidential Scholar


Major(s) and Minor(s):


If you are a first-generation and/or income-eligible student, what has your experience been like at UCSB?

Being a first-generation student hasn’t always been easy, but that doesn’t make it impossible to succeed. I’m proud of how far I’ve come since my first quarter here, and am so excited to see what I’ll be accomplishing within this last academic year. Bachelors degree, here I come!! With all that said, high education can be intimating, and I had no idea the amount of resources available to students on campus, let alone the ones provided through EOP. Not only has the educational opportunities program helped me establish a sense of community, but has shown me how awesome it is to be able to identify as first-gen.

What would you like to share with students about your experience at UCSB?

My experience here at UCSB has been unexpected to say the least, but I wouldn’t change a single thing. As Taylor Swift once said, “make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it, you’ve got no reason to be afraid.” And, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing…well trying haha. I’m making sure to enjoy the journey just as much as the destination. This will be my second year at UCSB, and I can already feel it flying by.

Top tips for fellow students?

In my opinion, it’s 100% worth it to take some time on campus finding the perfect study spot for you! It can be difficult to find motivation within your own living space, so stepping out to explore is never a bad idea. You’d be surprised at how many beautiful study spots we have on and off campus. I’d also highly recommend making time for sunset walks. It’s easy to get caught up in your academics, and though that’s important, so is making time for yourself.

Best advice you've received that has helped you at UCSB.

As both a first-generation and transfer student, some of the best advice I’d recommend is during the first lecture of every quarter don’t leave class without making at least one friend! It can be intimidating, but establishing those connections early is a great way to find study buddies, meet new friends, group project partners or even your future roomie!

Why did you choose to be an EOP peer mentor?

EOP was the first organization on campus where I really felt I could be myself, and ask any questions without hesitation or judgement. I’d like my fellow peers to feel that same level of comfort with me when it comes to any questions they have. (: