Matthew Isbel is from Los Angeles, California and is studying Creative Writing and Living Wisdom Studies at Ananda College (class of 2014). A transfer student from UCLA, Mathew spent a brief period as a production assistant in the film industry before joining Ananda College.
My name is Matthew Isbell and I am writing this letter in gratitude for the wonderful opportunity you have made possible in my life. I have just completed my third month at Ananda College of Living Wisdom and cannot begin to explain in this short letter, or even perhaps in words, the profound transformations I have been going through. The environment here is one that inspires growth and healing, both of which I have found in abundance since my arrival.
I grew up in Lake Tahoe, California. During my high school years I excelled in academia, lived a year in Argentina, was captain of the Varsity Tennis Team, and enjoyed drumming in our jazz band. Upon my graduation I eagerly set off on my college adventure to UCLA, expecting a place of intellectual inquiry, passionate learning, and clarity of this life experience. Instead, I encountered organized memorization, dry lecture halls full of bored students and apathetic professors, and a paucity of wisdom. This idea of college that I had been preparing for all my life, and the society that had ingrained into me the importance of such institutions, had both let me down. Despite receiving good grades I dropped out, feeling uneasy about many assumptions I had made about the world. I worked hard to support myself at two jobs in LA for a year before diving head first into the Hollywood film industry this last year. Through those experiences I gained clarity and insight of myself, my path, and my world. This understanding led me to Ananda College of Living Wisdom. Having been dissatisfied with the standard (and quality) of education at UCLA as well as many other traditional universities I researched and visited, I finally began to uncover a few institutes of alternative education, deciding that Ananda College was the best fit.
Upon deciding to attend the college there was still a question of affordability. This brings me back to your wonderful foundation. I wholeheartedly appreciate the financial support that has allowed me to continue with my intellectual inquiry as well as dig deeper into the wisdom I dearly craved. I am currently involved in the Wisdom Studies Core Curriculum with an emphasis on Creative Writing. But the richness of this college lies outside of the classroom just as much as inside. I have never felt better in my body, mind, or spirit than I have in these past few months. I find myself at a loss for words, knowing words will never completely express the profound gratitude I feel in this moment. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I have been blessed with a unique opportunity to reflect upon myself in a way that will echo throughout the rest of my life. The things I am discovering here about this world and the beauty within I hope to carry in my heart and share with all those I meet. I truly feel I have been given a chance to be a better version of myself. My plans for the future are not definite, but I am committed to spreading peace, harmony, and joy as far as I am capable, in whatever endeavors I choose to partake. Thank you for allowing me to discover and experience this wonderful place. Thank you for allowing me to change so I may take that change to the world. We have seen humanity divided, now let us see what we can achieve united.
Ananda College of Living Wisdom Class of 2014