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Author: Mayle T.

Mayle is from Santa Clarita, Southern California and is currently attending UCSB. She is a Biology Major, and is hopefully going to claim her Bio-Psychology major next quarter. She loves to write, draw, play tennis, and socialize.

Surviving UCSB Finals

Finals week at UCSB is upon us. It gets intense as the time ticks away while you’re studying and staying up all night. I know that the most logical thing to do is to study as much as you can and cram the night before, since it worked for midterms. (Let’s hope!) However, you can always take an alternative route not as detrimental to your mind and body. Here are some helpful tips for surviving finals.

  1. Stock up on drinks. Students usually make sure they load up on snacks during this demanding week. Stress eating is very dangerous, so reach for a drink instead. Dehydration can affect your concentration and cognition. Water is refreshing, plus it won’t pile on calories.

  2. Make sure that you are sitting at a desk. Studying on your comfy bed can seem like the best idea in the world, but oftentimes I find myself falling asleep after a couple hours. A bed is such an amazing product, but not if you want to get some serious studying done!

  3. Don’t push yourself too hard. Working hard is highly valued, but if you’re on the urge of falling asleep and constantly trying to stay awake in the wee hours of the night, just go to bed and take a nap. The information may not stick, even if you’re studying as hard as you can.

  4. Take advantage of Tropicana’s healthy snacks. Take an apple or banana for your study session later. Or take a break and come to the Café for finals week study snacks. Study snacks are a highly valued perk; thank you, Tropicana!

I know you will study the best you can and I hope you will do great on your final exams. Keep your head clear and goals straight, because distractions will rise – especially since there is a new 7-Eleven in Isla Vista that’s open 24 hours. Another opportunity to go grab a Slurpee when you feel like you need a study break.

Treat Yourself to a Post-Midterm Break

Now that UCSB midterm season is done, take the opportunity to relax for a couple days, before finals come around the corner. School can be such a stressful thing, but remember, it will end eventually. That’s why you need to make most of your time here and just enjoy the little things while you can. For example, if you have a whole lot of work to do but you just can’t pull yourself together to do it, take a break. There is no harm of using an hour or two to grab a bite to eat or chat with your friends. However, the hardest part about taking a break is to remember to get back to work afterwards! I know that when I see my friends, I just want to hang out with them and catch up on the great things in life – the things that don’t stress you out.

To make sure that you won’t explode under the soon-to-be craziness of finals, here are a couple places I enjoy walking to for a treat when I need to relieve my stress.

  • Starbucks – It is literally right down the street from Tropicana on Embarcadero del Norte and the service is nice and usually quick. It’s a great place to get in and out, plus enjoy a refreshing drink.

  • Equilibrium Cafe – This is a wonderful crepe place. I would eat here every single day if the Freshman 15 was not a factor. They have great homemade crepes and a nice selection of ice cream flavors. If you’re craving something sweet or savory, don’t hesitate. The price is great. Equilibrium is located on Pardall Road.

  • Hana Kitchen – I love this new restaurant! They have really delicious boba drinks, slushies, and lunch bowls. If you never had boba before, this is a great place to go to try the Asian drink with tapioca “pearls.” I kinda want to go and get some right now! It’s also located on Pardall.

  • Bagel Café – I can’t stop thinking about which delicious bagel to order the next time I go. This is a small shop on Trigo Road, but hard to miss. It’s always filled with people. I suggest you try all the flavors on the menu, just not all at one time! There’s even a nice little park next to it, so you can sit and enjoy your Hannah Bananah or Irish Special bagel in the sun.

I hope that you will take a break from all your studying, just for a couple hours. School is definitely important and I want you to succeed, but to succeed you need to learn to balance your own well-being. By taking a nice breather and relaxing a bit, I promise you will be more level-headed and ready to finish your tasks.

Got Free Time on Your Hands?

As a UCSB student, I wish I could say that I had free time on my hands. It would be just great to relax the day away and just enjoy the warm sun. However, it’s hard! Especially when classes are rolling and we all have our things to do.

If you do find time to just lounge around, here are some things you can definitely say were worth it. Okay, I can’t promise you that one hundred percent, but they are really good suggestions, IMHO.

  1. Hit the gym. Yeah, you heard me. Nothing feels better than going to the fitness center at Del Norte and working on your body for a bit. That feeling of self-improvement will last all day. Then you won’t feel as bad to have that ice cream cone at the i.v. drip. (YUM!)

  2. Take a nice nap. Believe it or not, even though naps may seem useless when you’re bouncing around all day – just take them. If you have time in between classes, it’s less likely that you’ll fall asleep in your chair while your teacher lectures in class. Beware! Only take naps 12-25 minutes long. There are studies that have been done that say those times are the best. I honestly don’t know what studies specifically, but a quick Google search or exploration on Wikipedia will show you the results!

  3. De-stress with music. Sometimes you can feel as if life may be too quiet. Just stick in those ear buds and drown out the silence around you. This can clear your mind and prepare you for whatever is coming. Try not to listen to music too loud or you may blow your eardrums out! It’s nice to lie in bed and just enjoy the tunes. I believe that it will set your mind straight and put your moods in order. You know how we can all get moody.

  4. Take a walk with whoever else has free time to grab a bite. Yeah, I know that Tropicana Del Norte has a meal plan that allows you to eat as much as you like! However, you don’t want to forget to enjoy the little things in life, like going out for a bite on occasion. It may make a little impact on your wallet, but seriously, it will be worth it. Plus, you go out to enjoy the company as well.

  5. Play some games. If you really just want to enjoy the company around home, play some pool or ping-pong, or even take a swim. The Tropicana Del Norte front desk also has board games available to borrow, so take a stab at Taboo, Pictionary or chess. It’s always nice to have a little competition in your life.

  6. Go to the hot tub on campus. Last, but not least, go and melt your troubles away as you slowly enjoy the steamy waters of the hot tub at the UCSB Rec Cen. It is amazing to just relax all those muscles you’ve been using while walking, biking, or even standing while bussing to class. The hot tub is definitely the way to go. I wish I had one in my room!

There are many ways to use your free time, and these are are just a couple of ways to relax and enjoy yourself. I know you all need your alone time, and when you do get it – make the most of it!

Study Sanctuaries at UCSB

Everyone needs a place to get away to either study or just hang out. It’s always good to get that needed alone time. I find myself going crazy when I can’t take a moment to relax and enjoy – me! It can get pretty hectic in college, especially when its social central. Friends are always available, which is a great thing, but it’s also important to get your study time in.

The library is a cool place, but honestly it can get stuffy and the lighting makes me a little sleepy. Although I haven’t been around Santa Barbara for long, I have found a couple of other convenient places for you to check out.

  1. No doubt about the UCEN – there are always little rooms and hallways you can study or just relax in. It’s usually very quiet and has great access to snacks and Jamba Juice! There is a little coffee shop in the corner of the UCEN called, Nicoletti’s, which has great prices for their pastries. The banana bread there is GREAT!

  2. Believe it or not, theUCSB Multi-Cultural Center has a great selection of rooms to choose from. Some of them may be rented out for the day, but they are usually open. The MCC lounge is downstairs next to the entrance. There are couches and tables, whichever you prefer, and it’s completely quiet. Windows are all over the room so you won’t feel as if you’ve been trapped in a cell. It’s also close to the Corner Store, which has many snack options. (YUM!)

  3. Take the bike path towardsManzanita – this is a beautiful sight to see, especially between the hours of 3-6pm, as the sun is about to turn in. All the way at the end of the path, you’ll find picnic tables. If you’re thinking about getting some reading done there, make sure you bring a pair of sunglasses. This is my favorite place since the weather is always perfect. I enjoy the cool ocean breeze as the waves hit the shore, and just let the sunshine come down and warm my soul.

Hopefully, you’ll enjoy these study spots as much as I did. You can never go wrong with Starbucks, a local coffee shop, or even the living rooms and study lounge at Tropicana Del Norte. Enjoy and good luck studying!

Moving Into Your Residence Hall: 5 Forget-Me-Not Necessities

Moving to another city for college can be a lot of work. There are definitely items that you’ll forget, trust me. These things are easily overlooked and once you realize you forgot them, it’s quite the bummer!

I remember the first day moving into Tropicana Del Norte being hectic and crazy. My stuff was everywhere and my room looked like it exploded. However, it’s not until later in the night after I was all moved in that I realized that I may have left some things behind. It was such an inconvenience! Especially because I was in a new area and had no idea how the bus route worked. I wouldn’t want this to happen to you, so here are a couple helpful tips I could share:

  1. Don’t forget to hydrate.
    You won’t believe how many kids get dehydrated in a single day. (Maybe because soda is our first option, yum!) I suggest you bring cases of water and store them beneath your bed for those midnight thirsts. They are also very convenient for your trips to class. For your long days at school, buy a water container, like a camel-back or sealable coffee-mug, to fill up in the Cafe.

  2. Running shoes
    Although we may not exercise on a daily basis…or even at all (since our metabolisms are still in great shape), it’s always nice to have the option of working out. If your friends wanted to exercise at UCSB’s Recreational Center, it would be horrible for you to be left behind. Plus, I think running to the Isla Vista Beach is an awesome idea. The view is definitely to die for. Don’t let that freshman fifteen phase you!

  3. You will get the munchies.
    Snacks are top of the line, fabulous. I know we’re constantly told not to eat at night, but let’s face it, there’s no way to stop it. And if you don’t have snacks, you’ll be begging your roomies for a couple bites – if they’re willing to share with you. I LOVE SNACKS! Oh, and even if the Cafe Trop provides us daily milk, it’s always nice to have a half a gallon in your little mini fridge for that midnight milk and cereal. (Now I’m thinking, “Thank goodness for those running shoes.”)

  4. Desk lamp for those late nights.
    Tropicana Del Norte does provide a study lounge downstairs for those late-night cram sessions. However, I think it’s nice to be in your room where everything is convenient (having all your stuff and snacks with you). The lighting in the rooms isn’t always as bright as we would like them to be, especially if you like to, or have to, read. If you have roommates, it would be considerate to use your lamp just in case they want to sleep. You never know if your roommate is an early sleeper, but let’s hope not since you may feel like procrastinating that day.

  5. A cushion for those old bones.
    This is definitely not mandatory, but if you want to guarantee a good night’s sleep, I suggest you bring a mattress bed pad. Wait, that sounds a little weird. It’s one of those mattress covers that you put beneath your twin extra long bed sheets. They come in padded cotton or memory foam, which are easy to find in nearby stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Kmart, Costco, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, the mattresses here are great. But this way you won’t miss your bed at home so much, because your bed here is going to be super comfy.

I know what you’re thinking, “Pfffft, how could I ever forget these basic things?” But after reading this, you’ll think back and be thankful you didn’t leave any of it behind.

From one student to another, good luck with moving in. And if you’re already moved in, I hope you get to the store and stock up on your snacks!