My name is Matt Morris. I am a fifth year Engineering Physics student originally from Southern California. I was asked to write about why I chose UC San Diego. When I first chose this university, I didn’t fully understand what made it so special. So, I’m going to take this opportunity to discuss what happened four years after I started attending UC San Diego. Part way through my fourth year I had a seizure-like episode. I could no longer think coherently. I also lost muscle control, was extremely sensitive to light and sound, and was in a constant state of debilitating pain. Prior to this, I was completely fine and training for a sailing championship in Europe.
No one could figure out was wrong with me so I went to our Dean of Student Affairs, Dean Kafele Khalfani. I was nervous to tell him what was going on, and I figured that this would be the end of my academic career at UC San Diego. After all, why would a top-ranked university want to keep a student who was not performing? To my amazement, he encouraged me to bleed off some units and keep him in the know as I continued to deal with my situation. I ended up having to drop all of my courses as time went on, and was later bedridden. Then, it was discovered that I had a brain tumor at the geographic center of my brain. I flew to Texas to have surgery, and during recovery, I relearned everything – from walking to basic math. For a while, I even went completely blind. Through all of this, UC San Deigo had my back. It didn’t matter what the circumstances were, I would always be a Triton. This event truly proved to me how special this university is.