To Try or Not to Try

I confess that my reservations about even trying to apply for Resident Assistant for Tropicana stemmed from my idea that it has never been my privilege to experience such a position. I discredited myself before even giving myself a chance, something I am not willing to continue to do. I am aware of my capabilities and I know how far I can go with them. I am conscious of my strengths and weaknesses and I never let the latter go unreformed for long. So why couldn’t I make an investment of trust in myself and commit myself to the ‘challenge’ of trying? I write this to alert people to the ability within themselves. No, I don’t know the qualities to be admired of every person that reads this page, but I know people know themselves better than anyone else. Why is it that we need validation from anyone outside of ourselves? Capacity cannot be seen by others if it is not shown to others. This is why I am a firm believer of trying; trying for everything that we may want. So what if it’s not rational? So what if it’s not practical? So what if others think our goals are trivial, insignificant, or negligible? Our dreams are ours to hold. Our dreams come slow and go fast. To let a dream fade unanswered is a crying shame. Only then is it a waste of time. I say, if you want something badly enough, there could be nothing standing in the way of going for it but you. The goal shouldn’t be winning. Success is to be had in the other spoils of simply trying because there is much to gain from the vulnerability of endeavoring. So take another look at what you want and compare it to what you have now. Every accomplishment started with the decision to try. Not completely, one hundred percent satisfied enough with your achievements to die happy right here and now? Then keep working at it. Make your life the movie you’ve always wanted it to be and make yourself the star you’ve countlessly envisioned. You’ll find that with a little confidence and devotion, it is not impossible.

Applying for Jobs – Quick Tips!

It’s coming up on Summer Job season, and there are going to be tons of opportunities for students to work and make some extra spending cash. Make sure that you are on top of your game to get the job you desire most! When I was in High School I joined FFA (Future Farmers of America) that emphasized professional development. I didn’t end up becoming a Farmer, but there were tons of practical skills I learned that have helped me on my post-high school job hunts. One of the requirements of joining FFA was entering the Regional Job Interview Competition. Beforehand I had never interviewed for a job or done much in terms of public speaking, which, in a way, worked in my behalf since everything I learned was quickly incorporated into my developing professional persona. I ended up making it to the final round during the first competition! Since then, I’ve held some really great positions, working as a Manager for Orange Julius, becoming an Associate Manger of a Movie Theater, and working my way from Res Life Staff to Marketing for Tropicana! Everyone has the potential to be successful and shine during an interview if they show confidence and interest in the job they’re applying for. There are a couple additional factors that will really help you shine. Here are a few quick tips that I found useful in applying for jobs: *Dress to Impress – If you dress like you’re serious about getting the job, employers will treat you as such. Time to polish your dress shoes and borrow an iron! *Do Research – What position would you like the most at the company you’re applying for? What makes you qualified for that position? What is the thing that the company prides itself on? Doing research ahead of time will help you confidently answer questions you may be asked during your interview, as well as help you get the position you want. Check out their website, read through job descriptions, and think of ways you’re a necessary piece to their puzzle. *Practice Professional Etiquette – A firm handshake and eye contact can go a long way in showing you’re confident and ready to work. Other interpersonal skills, such as using “Mr.” or “Miss,” and sending a follow up email to your interviewer, will help you stand out from other candidates! *Don’t Arrive Empty Handed – Draft up a résumé and have it handy. Likely you’ll be filling out an job application, but attaching your résumé is another great way to stand out from the crowd! Here’s a template that I have used in the past, but there are plenty of ways that you can get creative with your résumé! Things that you should NOT include in your résumé: • Labeling your résumé “Résumé.” • Including the date you wrote your résumé • Personal Data that is not contact information, such as your date of birth, race, sex, etc. • A Photograph of yourself: Equal Employment Opportunity legislation prohibits companies from making hiring decisions on what could be seen as bias towards an individual based on how they look. • Grammar School / Jr. High Education – Not necessary =] While I hope these tips are helpful, these are just the building blocks that will help you get that amazing job! There a tons of resources available for you at the Campus Career Centers at both UCSB and SBCC, as well as resources online. Have questions? Please feel free to email me and I’d be happy to answer them or point you in the right direction!
Brendan: blangley@tropicanastudentliving.com

Conservation is Critical to Extending Santa Barbara County’s Water Supply

On January 17th, 2014 it was declared that California was in a state of emergency caused by drought. California’s Governor has asked all residents to reduce their water use. Santa Barbara County has joined the State in declaring a drought emergency and has asked for a 20% reduction in water usage.

Coinciding with the State’s and the County’s efforts, we ask you to please be mindful of your water usage. We appreciate your personal efforts in helping our community reduce our water use as a whole.

Here are some things to think about when you are using water, which can assist in our conservation efforts:

  • When brushing your teeth, don’t let the faucet flow. Use a glass of water for rinsing your teeth.
  • Wait until you have a full load of laundry before you do a load. You’ll save water, energy, and money for laundry.
  • One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. A four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water.
  • Report any water related maintenance issues immediately to the Tropicana Front Desk. 

Together we can conserve and extend Santa Barbara County’s limited water supply.

Reduce Stress

In Santa Barbara, we occasionally hear the rolling sirens of ambulances nearby, speeding past our windows. But I’ve come to ask a pestering question. What about the ailments that don’t get a siren? Like a broken heart, a collapsed pride, or a mental breakdown? College sees a lot of the latter. As second quarter veterans of UCSB, we have all experienced the stresses that come with the close of a quarter. Finals have become the dreaded inflictors of such pain, but no hospital, no medication can cure us. Here are some ways to therefore prevent mental breakdowns and to do so as early as now:In Santa Barbara, we occasionally hear the rolling sirens of ambulances nearby, speeding past our windows. But I’ve come to ask a pestering question. What about the ailments that don’t get a siren? Like a broken heart, a collapsed pride, or a mental breakdown? College sees a lot of the latter. As second quarter veterans of UCSB, we have all experienced the stresses that come with the close of a quarter. Finals have become the dreaded inflictors of such pain, but no hospital, no medication can cure us. Here are some ways to therefore prevent mental breakdowns and to do so as early as now:

  1. Get some sleep.
    If you feel your eyes drooping, and see the words on those pages blurring together, just stop. No matter how much more you have to do, close that book, set aside those notes, and get some sleep. There’s no sense in robotically reading without retaining information. You’ll actually be hurting your ability to focus later on due to the continued lack of rest. Without that necessary energy you will read and think slower and, possibly, incoherently as I’ve experienced. I call it my “Lost Sleep Loopy-ness”. Your body needs downtime to complete the processes it usually goes through while you sleep. Depriving your body of that opportunity can mess up your system.

  2. Review your notes early on.
    I won’t lie. In the past, I’ve left a class proud of what I’d learned enough to ignore the notes and just take a nap/get on with my day. But the average hour and fifteen minutes of class can actually go over a lot of information (which some of us realize when we miss a class and try playing catch-up for the next week). Now imagine that multitude of information over a quarter’s worth of classes. This is the information we crammers try to fit into our studies in the span of one or two nights before finals. It is more beneficial than many realize to just review each class’s notes the day after as a simple refresher while eating breakfast or while drying your hair after a shower. You don’t need to dedicate too much time solely for your review and you feel much more confident in the information learned when you encounter the topics again in the course afterwards. This, in addition to your specifically dedicated study time and class participation, can make you one kick-butt expert on any course.

  3. Remain positive.
    It’s always easy to let the large, double-digit amount of pages you have left to review stress you out enough to distract you. Then you find yourself scrambling to finish faster, re-reading passages because you were too busy freaking out to really pay attention the first time, and on the brink of surrendering to your negativity. Breathe. Hone in on what you’re supposed to accomplish. Let everything else, all distractions, fall away into the background. Don’t let yourself think about anything but the content you’re studying. Be in the present. And if you’re like me and need incentive to finish at a timely pace, promise yourself a reward after. When you’re finished, you can enjoy your prize (Ice cream? Music break? SLEEP? One episode of your show?) and most likely, GOOD GRADES.

The Guide to Making New Friends

Going to college is like taking the ‘you’ you’ve known and worked on for so long and plonking yourself in a completely new environment. Our comfort zones have now been stripped away and we are encouraged to adapt to our new surroundings. In the shuffling mess that is moving and adjusting, how do we go about making new friends? How do we segue from feeling the absence of old friends? The transition is actually a lot simpler than we realize. The first step has nothing to do with seeking out a companion, but actually begins with studying oneself. When changing environments, it is very easy to stress out. The same applies for changing the homes of animals and pets. Everything around us seems to be changing. It then becomes difficult to remember or to gauge who we are, though we might have known it extremely well before the move. Start small. Observe your reaction to the change. Do you like it? Are you happy? Are you ready to let go of the past and embrace your new life? Answering positively to these questions is paramount to forging new, successful relationships. When you feel ready, others around you can feel that you’re ready as well. Take out your headphones, smile a bit more, let your happiness show. People tend to gravitate more towards others that know themselves and are happy rather than downers.

Now that you’ve fixed yourself, it’s time to meet some people. The best way to go about doing this is to do things that interest you. Through this method, you will encounter people with the same interests. When your friendships solidify, you can then fangirl together, start an epic bromance, or even date? It is also important to keep in mind that sticking with what you know is not good enough. This is college! There are plenty of social opportunities to try new things. Got some extra time on your hands? Join a club! Take chances! Do things you wouldn’t normally do! Now, I’m not saying to jump off a cliff in the interest of finding a bungee-jumping friend or doing things you know are wrong just to make a new circle of dangerous acquaintances, but are you not sure if you’ll take to a theater class? Take it and see! You’ll get GE credits out of the way whilst meeting a myriad of people. Who knows? They may be trying to make friends too and in your mutual struggles, you can find each other!

In short, everyone is clamoring to find out who they are. The thing is, there will never be a definite answer because we will change and change and change again over the course of our lives. Face it. Who you are now is A LOT different from who you were freshman year in high school. We ditched the braces, cut and dyed our hair, our bodies and confidence filled out a little bit more. But if you make a positive experience out of your changes, we can all grow up together and make some lifelong friends out of it. So don’t be afraid to discover yourself and what you want and make yourself approachable.

UCSB vs. Cal Poly SLO

There’s loud music blaring in the courtyard, students are all decked out in their blue and gold gear, several people are sporting UCSB facepaint… what could that be? Well, a number of things, actually, but this time, Trop’s going to the soccer game! We’ve got our school spirit up and roaring and our tortillas hidden safely in our pants, hoods, and anywhere else they won’t check! It’s GAME TIME!

UCSB vs Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is kind of a big deal. They’re our biggest rival, and it’s important to kick their butts! And have fun while doing so, of course. But still, kick their butts! And throw ALL the tortillas when we make goals and win! I can’t really say more about how important it is to beat SLO, not because I’ve said enough or even because the need to win is that strong, but because I’m kind of a noob with sports, and I know next to nothing about soccer. I mean, I know that goals equate to points and goalies are like Keepers in Quidditch, but that’s really about it.

This game is important on a personal level too, because it’s the first official sporting event that I’ve been to in my life. Ever. I’d never been to high school football or basketball games, or been to a Laker game, or anything like that, so I was super stoked to be going. But because I know nearly nothing about soccer, I came basically just so I could be loud and raucous and throw tortillas than to actually see players play. Oops. Well, going to the game was free, anyway. So I figured, why not?

There was nothing really going on in the first half of the game. At least, until the last ten minutes. Then we made a goal! Yay! Then it was halftime and we momentarily got to sit down, which was really nice. When the game started again, it was more exciting and more intense knowing that we were in the lead. The second quarter mostly consisted of trying not to let SLO get the ball. We made another goal in the last five minutes, which was great, and tortilla madness rained on us all.

And the crowd goes wild! Flying tortillas are really hard to capture on camera…
How ’bout a flying Thunderstick instead?

All in all, it was a great experience to go to my first game. It was fun partaking in UCSB chants and rituals, like counting down to 4:20 or making fun of the opposing team. People get so into it. It was so crazy, but also kind of amazing.

We are the champions, my friends!

I probably would not have gone to the game, had it not been for where I live. Tropicana del Norte is really awesome, and I thank them and all the RAs that work so hard just to give us cool events like a pre-game sesh, among other things. It was awesome seeing everybody so pumped and so psyched. Before the year started, I had multitudes of people telling me that “You end up being really proud of your first dorm,” and “School spirit is contagious.” At first, I didn’t really see any of that becoming a reality. I thought they were insane, die-hards who were too happy to be in school. But now I see that yeah, they’re kinda right. It happens.