Sairah Ferrari ‘21
Sairah Ferrari was a sophomore when life circumstances made her take time off from her studies and join the work force. After working in telecommunications and media for six years, she took the plunge and returned to school, starting out at Contra Costa Community College before transferring to UC Davis. With her industry experience, she knew that majoring in computer science would open doors for her. But while she was doing her prerequisites, a professor got her interested in artificial intelligence, and she became a cognitive science analysis major. “Learning about psychology and linguistics and knowing I can apply it to AI is exciting.
It’s exciting, but returning to studies is also stressful at times. For Ferrari, those stressors can be life-threatening.
Ferrari has supraventricular tachycardia, a condition that can cause a cluster of cells in her heart to go haywire in stressful situations. Stress caused her to have a minor stroke at age 27. For her, the Testing Services Center is literally a lifesaver.
The center gives her a quiet, low-stress space to take her exams. “In those huge lecture halls, people finish their exams and start turning them in and moving around, and I’d worry about not being done.” The anxiety that causes can put her at risk.
Ferrari also appreciates the supportive environment she finds there. “My first 2 quarters at UC Davis I felt stuck in limbo. The adjustment was really hard. Every time I went into the testing center it made me feel so much better. I still struggle with that stress. I’m tired and exhausted.
But I feel encouraged when I go into the Testing Center. They lighten my load and make me feel like it’s ok.