Straight out of high school, Tahmina Ansari decided to pack her bags and move to Santa Barbara, California in 2014. She had come to Norway as a first generation refugee from Afghanistan and education has always been important to her and to her family since they are from a country where education for women is limited. In Norway, she grew up dealing with prejudices based on how she looked.
Tahmina’s vision has always been to live in a place where there was less prejudice against skin color and ethnicity. By being able to enjoy the Santa Barbara weather and atmosphere, she noticed that she felt better and happier and this happiness was reflected onto her education.
She supplemented with a few classes from Santa Barbara City College while pursuing her education at Antioch University, Santa Barbara. Tahmina’s reason for choosing Antioch was because she does not believe in the ordinary school systems; instead, she desired an environment where she is acknowledged.
“I literally googled ‘Hands-on education in small classrooms in California.’” – Tahmina Ansari
Tahmina wasn’t sure about her career goal when she started Antioch, but she has always believed that there is a lot of power in our words. In addition, she loves interacting with people and learning about other people’s journeys. Therefore, she started off with studying communication because it is a broad subject that included all of her interests. Although, after taking a class called “Personal Relationships” with professor Kathleen Berry, she decided that psychology was her new passion.
In 2017, she graduated with double concentrations in Communication and Psychology. Since the school highlighted gratitude and self-awareness during her BA program, she says that her biggest development from Antioch was her own personal growth.
After graduation, Tahmina realized that in today’s competitive society, education is not enough and she needs to also have work experience. She, therefore, applied for Optional Practice Training, which is a one-year work training for international students who have earned a degree in the United States. Shortly before Tahmina’s graduation, Dr. Alexandra Carswell Engle opened up “Regenerate Health Medical Center” in Santa Barbara. The center focuses on treating patients in a natural way by using individualistic protocols. Many of their patients that have previously been to other kinds of doctors before coming to the clinic feel they have been exposed to a one-sided view and that they haven’t been listened to. The clinic´s ability to customize treatments completely designed after the patients have been the key to its success.
Tahmina started her practice with Dr. Ace right after graduation and was their first employee as a Patient Care Coordinator. The position allowed her to connect with patients on a personal level since her tasks mainly included everything that has to do with patient care and sharing knowledge about the importance of finding the root cause of their health issues. Tahmina explains that her job is to make the patient feel comfortable, create a trustworthy environment, and clarify the patient’s health journey. Due to Tahmina’s knowledge within communication, she approaches patients by being an active listener and leaves room for questions, which creates personal relationships with clients who have become loyal. After a few months of hard work, the clinic now has a team of 8 people and Tahmina got offered a position as the Director of Operations. After one year of working for Dr. Ace, Tahmina decided that its time to go back to Antioch University to develop her knowledge of psychology.
When asked why she is choosing to attend Antioch for her Master’s Degree, Tahmina simply answered; “Because the school allowed for an open mind, which invites for people to share their personal stories and that is how I learn the best.”
Tahmina believes that due to her background of moving to three different countries, she finds it important to value the places that make you feel good. Home is therefore not necessarily the country that you have written down in your passport, instead home is a place where you can see and be seen and that’s what Antioch University is all about.