Meet Mo: Graduating Senior and GTA President

Mo Chakravarty, “the one and only,” is a fourth year biochemistry major who will be graduating in June. Mo is super involved in Gaucho Tour Association (GTA) where she started as a tour guide in her freshman year and now serves as president. Before she has to leave us to go be a real adult, I sat down to talk with Mo about graduation, post-grad plans, and her experiences as a UCSB tour guide.

How does it feel to be graduating in a month?

It’s going to sound cliche but it feels really bittersweet. I walk around campus and IV and appreciate all the memories I have and all the friends that I’ve made here. I’m really sad that everyone’s gonna move away. There are certain things I wish I had done or other opportunities that I could have taken advantage of. But at the end of the day, I’m pretty happy overall with my college experience. It is what it is so I can’t really go back and change anything.

What are your plans or goals for after graduation?

My immediate plans and goals are to continue working. I currently work for the emergency department here as a medical scribe. I’m also going to be a business development representative for a healthcare communication company called Well Health, so I’ll be Downtown [Santa Barbara]. I’ll be taking the MCAT over the summer, taking care of myself, saving up money and being a real adult. Then eventually I’ll try to go to med school. I just want to enjoy my young adult years before I sell my soul to medicine.

What advice would you give to your freshman year self?

To be open to all types of experiences. I think I went into college expecting one thing and doing a lot of similar things from early on. There’s a lot of ways I could have branched out more, whether it was making more of an active effort to meet more friends instead of being locked into one group that ended up falling apart, or going out to different events instead of just going to IV all the time. It was a trek from Anacapa too, so I definitely should’ve done other things in that time. I wish I’d gotten involved in more things sooner, too. I kind of just did GTA and that was it, which is awesome. But I feel like maybe there could’ve been one or two clubs that I could’ve at least dabbled in.

What is your favorite memory at UCSB?

I always say the same thing and I guess I’ll just say it again. Second year Extravaganza during Rae Sremmurd’s performance, they said “Ladies, come dance onstage with us.” My best friend and I hopped over the rail and danced on stage with Rae Sremmurd and a bunch of other girls who were from all over campus. Apparently the video screen zoomed in on us for a while, so afterwards when I was going around at the event, everyone said, “Mo, we saw you dance and you killed it!” I thought, alright, I peaked. I know it’s not the most wholesome thing. I should say it was when I was elected president, but… it was still fun.

What is your favorite part about being GTA president?

Seeing the culmination of my four years and seeing how far this organization has gone since I was first hired as a freshman. From new leadership to the professional staff. Going from Tom [the current Campus Tour Coordinator] being my president and a student himself to him being my direct supervisor. All the people I’ve been able to get close to and all the different members of GTA. I feel like I’ve seen so many different parts of campus because we bring in so many people from all over who are involved in different orgs and they all do different things. I feel like I learn a little bit about everything and everyone. I feel like I’ve broadened by horizons by being in GTA. Being president is a way to give back and have me help you address any problems. I always say with everything, just check with Tom.

What is the most memorable thing that has ever happened to you on a tour?

This didn’t happen on one specific tour but it happens on a few. It really means a lot to me when after the end of an hour and a half tour, parents come up to me and say things like, “Good luck with the rest of your future endeavors but I’m sure you’ll be fine. You seem really smart and successful. Thank you for the great tour.” It’s the fact that even within an hour and a half tour they believe in me and my own personal goals, sometimes more than I do. It’s really nice to have that added reassurance. One mom gave me a hug after a tour and I think, “Aw, I am worth believing in.” Having that positive energy at the end of an hour and a half really is special.

In GTA we have a big-little system. How do you have so many littles in GTA?

My second year I got two littles. Over the summer between second and third year we hired a few new people so I got two more littles. Then third year one of my littles quit, which was really sad, and I got three more littles. Then I adopted someone because her big left. She was like, “Can you adopt me?” I just have this weird maternal instinct so if I slightly like you I’ll say, "You’re my fake little now. I’m adopting you." I just love everyone. I want them to be my child. I always told Tom I want to be the GTA octo-mom and have eight littles. If you count my adopted one and the one that quit, I did reach it but some people might get technical and say I didn’t. Some people just don’t want me to win.

Who has had the biggest influence on your college years?

My two best friends, Guneet and Sruthi. I’ve known them since freshman year. I think our friendship tapered off a little bit during my second year but that was more me going through personal stuff and avoiding everyone. But after that, we reconnected toward the end of the year. They’re both similar to me but also different in such big ways that I feel like they’ve helped shape me and helped me grow. I think Guneet is definitely the one that says to embrace all experiences, do whatever you want, and just have fun. Sruthi is someone who says be you and be completely yourself. There’s no reason trying not to be yourself. Throughout the four years, they’ve had the biggest impact on me.

What will you miss most about UCSB?

The proximity of everyone and everything. I have friends from other campuses who say, “You’re so lucky, all you have to do is walk everywhere or bike everywhere. To classes, to your friend’s house.” Recently, I’ve really been taking in the fact that I can go five minutes to one friend’s house and then on the way back probably run into two or three more people. Then this person from my class knows this person from my dorm who also knows this person in my house this year. IV is such a small world and people are so interconnected. We’re a cute Gaucho community.  

What are you most looking forward to in post-college life?

I want to say not being a student, but I’m hopefully going to med school so I don’t know if that counts. Having more say in my life and being more in charge of my day-to-day and my future. In college, you do have a lot of say and you can shape your schedule a lot. But in my experience there’s a lot of things that I just had to do because of department requirements or general education. There’s a lot of times where I felt like it was a waste of my time. Even though I tried to go in with a positive outlook, I was not riveted and it didn’t feel useful. I think being really picky and independent with how I choose to spend my time. That’ll be really cool in post-grad. And having money. I’ll be a real earner. Making more than minimum wage will be such a dream.

All images courtesy of Mo Chakravarty