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December 2013 Gr a du a te a nd La w Stu den t New s a nd V iew s     Greetings to all Graduate and Law Students!   What’s Inside Goodbye USD 1 Event Calendar 2 Bali 3 Changemaker/events 4 UFMC 5 College of A & S Events 6 USD Recreation 7 Yoga/ Sustainability 8 Wellness Center 9 Message from ASIA 11 iPortfolio 12 USD Store/Dining 13 El Salvador 14   Stay Connected via Social Media USD  Graduate  and  Law   Student  Commons     @USDGradLawLife   You are just a few weeks away from the end of the fall semester. Make sure to give yourself a break from all the studying and attend some of the remaining campus events. Most students are gearing up for winter break as the semester comes to a close, but keep in mind there are also students who are looking forward to graduation. The end of the semester is a great time for celebration and reflection. 17 Months With USD As the end of the semester approaches, we are all wrapping up our final coursework and getting ready for winter break, there is the realization amongst some of us that we will not be returning to school next semester. We will be graduating in less than a month. An important chapter in our lives is coming to an end and the spectacle of a new beginning has come in sight. Before moving on, I would like to take a few moments and look back at the journey that I embarked on, beginning July of 2012. I vividly remember the first time I saw the USD campus; it was Sunday, July 29, 2012, and I was standing in the balcony of my hotel room, looking at the city that was going to be my new home for the next 17 months. Two days before, I had flown 7661 miles across the world from my hometown, Tehran, Iran, to begin my life as a graduate student at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. My mind was in a haze from the jet lag and doubt was creeping into my heart rapidly, “Have I made the right decision to come all the way here? Do I really belong here?” I kept asking myself silently. However, that Sunday evening, as my friend and I drove up the Marian Way and I laid eyes on the tall, dignified buildings and the colorful landscape of the USD campus, my fears and doubts cleared away instantly. I knew right then, that I had made the right decision by choosing to come to USD. I have come a long way since that very first moment. I have met wonderful people and made lifelong friends, pursued my passion for learning, rediscovered myself, and the true potential that lies within me. My close involvement with the USD community through the Graduate Student Council, the International Students’ Office, and the Changemaker Hub has greatly enriched my experience as an international graduate student and has made USD my home away from home and my community. As I prepare to say goodbye to my USD family by the end of this month, I feel grateful that I can take away 523 days of laughter, friendship, learning, hard work, and happiness with me. I have become a better, stronger, and more compassionate person as a result of my growth and transformation here at USD. Although I am prepared to begin a new chapter in my journey, USD will always have a special significance because it is where a new me was born. Afarin Dadkhah MA Peace and Justice Studies

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