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Culture Shock: Adjusting to Life as a UCSB Student

Coming to the University of California Santa Barbara from a small town

Coming to the University of California Santa Barbara was a big change from Greenfield, California. (No one knows where that is so I have to say I’m from Salinas, and if they still don’t know where that is, I end up saying I’m from the Central Coast.)

Coming from a small town populated with mostly Mexicans, I had never seen so many different people. My first week here at school here in Santa Barbara, I overheard a tour group being told that the UCSB had over 20,000 students. At that moment, I realized that there were more students at this school than people in my hometown!

It was definitely different here. I could not start suddenly speaking Spanish when I was trying to say a word that I did not know how to say in English, because not everyone understands Spanish. (After a while, I got really good at describing things, and even learned new vocabulary words.)

Some people don’t like change, and before my move, I was one of those people. But if nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.

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!