A Different Shade of Sky


Dominic Savana, Cactus Student Editor

The sky isn’t this blue in New Jersey. Jets streak across the deep blue leaving white, ephemeral trails, and noise. People must live here for the serenity. College students lounge around all over Washington Square Park, but here in Maricopa, students are not sure of the etiquette. They walk past, heading from class to class, without stopping or saying anything to me or each other. CAC Maricopa seems more business-like than NYU. Three thousand miles away, back where I’m from, New York City’s colors and the noise would conceal me in a brilliant, cacophonous crush. Lounging in a courtyard wouldn’t seem such a faux pas. Perhaps the etiquette is different here? After all, I am the stranger in a strange land. Sun rays shining soft pastel yellow in the sky remind me of all I’ve left in the past. Only two years ago, I called a different shade of sky home.

My college career started in lush, agrarian, ancient Tuscany. Not many students get a chance to study abroad their first year. At New York University, students on the fence about their majors study abroad their first year in the Core Program. In a new environment, one can cultivate their interests and see the world. In Florence, I was introduced to philosophy and art history. My appreciation for Ancient Greece was heightened by a professor whom acted The Bacchae wearing a Dionysian wig and dress, and another professor who raved about how idiotic, yet necessary, Plato’s writings could be. The Italian masters were on display across the city. I interviewed street artists recreating the world’s greatest works in chalk.

While some of my best memories were made in Florence, some of my worst memories were as well. No one can properly prepare for the isolation and loneliness of being far away from home. By the end of my second semester I was happy to return to the United States,B by the end of my second semester,I was happy to return to the United States, but I will always miss life in Florence

Back in New York, I studied politics. 2012 in New York was a spectacular scene for all things political. Occupy Wall Street was waning, but ever present in the colleges. United States v. Windsor (2013) was the only story in the news. Barack Obama had just been reelected, and the liberal-conservative war waged on in the hallowed halls of Silver Center and Waverly. The divisiveness was beginning to start, but police brutality hadn’t pulled our country apart just yet. Political science students were focused on international affairs in the shadow of the largest social divide our country would face since the Civil Rights Movement.

When my family fell on hard times, I had to give New York up. It was too expensive, and there were too many factors keeping me from finishing, the most important of which was I didn’t know what I wanted to do. When I came to Maricopa, I spent several months finding my path, my true North. Sometimes, to find oneself, it is important to step away from everything. It is important to find clarity.

I am, by nature, political. After several years of following the discipline, it is nearly impossible to move away from the pull. So I follow the news each day to stay in the loop. It is only recently that my heart has fallen in with education. Central Arizona College has provided an incubator for my thoughts. It is here, not in New York, that I was able to find a voice and passion that I wish to pursue as a lifelong career.

The sky isn’t this blue in New York, either. For all the inspiring aspects of the city, there is nothing so vast, remarkable, as this deep blue. On my way to class, the hum of professors lecturing permeates through the doors. Tutors at the learning center explain thesis writing in hushed voices. ITV operators scuttle back and forth setting up virtual classrooms. Central Arizona College does not have the raucous tide of people and crashing noise ever present in New York City, and having now attended in Maricopa, it is hard to imagine an institution different from this serene atmosphere perfect for cultivating oneself. Over the next few months, the articles I write will reflect aspects of Central Arizona College from my perspective. My opinions will be based on empirical observation and researched perspectives. My name is Dominic Savana, and I am the new editor for The Cactus in Maricopa.